Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, September 29, 2019 - 16th Sunday after Pentecost


The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, September 29, 2019 - 16th Sunday after Pentecost
[Ordinary 26, Proper 21]
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Life that is Really Life
Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15;    Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16; 1 Timothy 6:6-19; Luke 16:19-31

Opening Statement
The lectionary texts for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost focus on “life that is really life.” The texts remind us that we can chase a life that has no value. 1 Timothy writes that we can fall into temptations and be trapped by senseless and harmful desires that can ruin us. Money is one of those temptations. Rather, we are to be rich in good works, be generous and ready to share. This is the life that God calls us to embrace. This is life that is really life.

Opening Prayer


Come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to Him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to Him.
For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.
He holds in His hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to Him, for He made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship & bow down.
Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,
for He is our God.
We are the people He watches over,
the flock under His care.

The Collect (Book of Common Prayers)
O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; 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
Sometimes God we take ourselves so seriously—our opinions, our emotions, our needs, our entitlements—that we fail to notice our effect on others. And we do not make connections between our limitless wants and the resources left for others. We do this without knowing it. Bring our awareness to Justice for all—to the common good, to your universality of blessings. Remind us you love all.

Assurance of Pardon
The God of salvation, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth, offers forgiveness to each of us through the Redeemer sent in human form. We are grateful that over and over we are given the chance to begin again and that nothing we have done can separate us from God’s love.


First Reading
Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
Jeremiah Buys a Field During the Siege
32:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. 2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, 3 where King Zedekiah of Judah had confined him.

6 Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came to me: 7 Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.” 8 Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, “Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.

9 And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. 11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; 12 and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. 13 In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, 14 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

The Psalms

Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 Qui habitat
1  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, *
   abides under the shadow of the Almighty.

2  He shall say to the Lord,
   "You are my refuge and my stronghold, *
   my God in whom I put my trust."

3  He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter *
   and from the deadly pestilence.

4  He shall cover you with his pinions,
   and you shall find refuge under his wings; *
   his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.

5  You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, *
   nor of the arrow that flies by day;

6  Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, *
   nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.

14 Because he is bound to me in love,
   therefore will I deliver him; *
   I will protect him, because he knows my Name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; *
   I am with him in trouble;
   I will rescue him and bring him to honor.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, *
   and show him my salvation.


Second Reading
1 Timothy 6:6-19
6:6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

The Good Fight of Faith
11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16 It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.


The Gospel
Luke 16:19-31
The Rich Man and Lazarus
16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”


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


In the name of the Father and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God of love and mercy,
You call us to be your people,
You gift us with Your abundant grace.
Make us a holy people,
radiating the fullness of your love.
Form us into a community of people who care,
expressing Your compassion.
Remind us day after day of our baptismal call
to serve with joy and courage.
Teach us how to grow in wisdom and grace
and joy in Your presence.
Through Jesus and Your Spirit,
we make this prayer. 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.
Life that is Really Life
Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15;    Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16; 1 Timothy 6:6-19; Luke 16:19-31

“Carried away to be with Abraham” The Sermon for SUNDAY, September 29, 2019


Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 16th chapter of Luke, beginning with the 19th verse.

16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31, 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.

“Carried away to be with Abraham”

“He was loved and admired by his community. A model of success and a good family man. He cared deeply for his brothers who are with us here today. He loved entertaining people, and friends who visited never left disappointed. What a tragic lose as we mourn his passing, here today.”

I could imagine words like that spoken as a eulogy if the rich man in Jesus’ parable had lived today. What an elaborate funeral it would be! The finest casket and vault; the largest headstone, so many flowers; so many wanting to pay tribute. But what a tragic funeral! For we do not have those words of comfort that angels carried him away to be with Abraham.

But Lazarus, whose dead body may simply have been thrown into an unmarked, common grave with few if any mourners—what a wonderful funeral that was! For we are told: “[he] was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.” (Luke 16:22). Which will your funeral be?

That eulogy I started with, may not strike you as fitting the rich man well. It makes him sound too good. But sometimes to ease our own conscience, we like painting others as extra bad. That way we feel good by comparison. So maybe we like picturing this rich man as kicking Lazarus when he tries to beg for food or making him the butt of his jokes. Maybe we justifies ourselves by thinking, “Well, I’m not rich like he was, so I don’t have to care about helping the poor.” But those lines of thought harden our hearts to Jesus’ message.

Notice, how even in hell the rich man respectfully addresses Abraham, calling him father. No doubt, during this life he had learned his religion and carried out his religious obligations. He did his duty. And even though we’re not told whether Lazarus was fed, why would they keep bringing him to the rich man’s house if he didn’t get something? I'm not saying that the rich man cared about him. Maybe only the servants dumped the scraps by him. At any rate, the rich man seems to have fulfilled his social obligation. He did his duty.

So why then did he end up in hell? Let’s see how the parable answers that. Jesus’ description shows that the rich man focused on the earthly. How much could he get out of life? How much could he enjoy himself? “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen” (Luke 16:19a), the designer clothes of those days. He knew what was fashionable. And he “feasted sumptuously every day” (Luke 16:19b). He knew how to enjoy himself.

Also, listen to what Abraham says to the rich man as he suffers in hell, “during your lifetime you received your good things” (Luke 16:25). Yes, your good things—the things that you thought were good, so important—the things you looked to for happiness, joy, peace, security, and comfort. That’s where his life had been focused.

But that’s the opposite of faith. Faith looks to God as the Giver of all that’s good. “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). Faith trusts God as the Giver of all that’s good; the rich man trusted his riches.

And you don’t need to be rich to trust riches. How easy for us to get caught up in thinking, “I’d be happy, if I only had the money to do this or buy that.” Or, “I’d have fewer worries then.” How tempting for us to trust the almighty dollar rather than the Almighty! But the dollar cannot carry you to be with Abraham; rather, trusting in wealth sinks you into the torture of hell’s flames. Beware. Yes, we want the angels to carry us to be with Abraham, but beware the alternative. Don’t trust wealth to bring you good.

There is a second aspect of the rich man we need to heed as a warning. Beware. And it has to do with God’s Word, the Bible.

At first we might be struck with his concern for his brothers. He wants Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead and warn them about the torture of hell. But how does Abraham answer him? “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them” (Luke 16:29). God used Moses and the Prophets to write his Word, the Old Testament. After Jesus ascended, he used his evangelists and apostles to write the New Testament. But even the Old Testament is filled with God’s promises to send the Savior, the promises Jesus fulfilled.

God’s Word, the Bible, that’s what changes hearts. That’s what works repentance. That’s the tool of the Holy Spirit. That’s what saves—not someone coming back from the dead or some other spectacle. Saving faith takes God at his word. Saving faith cherishes the Scriptures. Saving faith treasures God’s written message. Saving faith trusts what God Word’s says.

But notice the response of the rich man, “No, father Abraham” (Luke 16:30). He knows better than God. In fact, if God had sent someone back from the dead for him, then he would not have ended up in hell. It’s God’s fault. The Bible is not enough!

But yes it is enough. “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Faith accepts the Bible as God’s full revelation. The Bible is all-sufficient for our faith and life. We do not need anything more. For “all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word is all we need.

Do you hold the Bible in highest regard as the very word of God? Or is it boring, and we need to add excitement for it to really do its job? Music, sermons, Bible studies, books, rallies, art, and the like cannot add anything to the power of God’s Word. They’re beneficial only when they highlight the message that’s already there, revealed in the Scriptures. Faith, real faith, needs God’s Word not some sort of experience, excitement, or miracle, no matter how spectacular.

Do our actions shine with this high regard for God’s Word? How much time do you spend in a week reading God’s Word and reflecting on its message? Is it your comfort, your treasure, your hope? Do you turn to it for your strength? Does it shape the decisions and choices you make? Do you cherish its public proclamation so that you don’t want to miss a worship service? Do you gladly hear and learn it? How we fall short!

Take this seriously for there is no second chance after death. That chasm in the parable clearly pictures that truth. Those who die trusting wealth to bring them good will not be with Abraham. Those who despise God’s Word or neglect it will not be there. Be warned. The angels do not carry everyone to be with Abraham. Beware the alternative.

But who will be? Whom will the angels carry to be with Abraham? Will only poor beggars who are covered in sores that dogs lick? Being poor or a beggar or having a horrible disease will not get you into heaven. For you see, many who are poor still look to wealth as the source of happiness and good. They’ll be with rich man in hell. And many who suffer in this life, blame God for their predicament, just as the rich man blamed God for his unbelief.

So if it wasn’t his poorness or his suffering, what made Lazarus different? Why did the angels carry him to be with Abraham? That very name for heaven, "To be with Abraham," gives us the answer. Why was Abraham there? He wasn’t poor; he was wealthy by earthly standards with his flocks and herds. He had no serious disease; he lived to the age of 175. But Abraham believed God’s promise.

Faith in God’s promise, that’s what Abraham had. That’s what Lazarus had. Their faith trusted God’s promise to send the Savior to undo the curse of death that sin had brought into this world. They believed God’s promise for a Savior to rescue them from the damnation their sin had earned and instead bring them eternal life through the forgiveness of their sins.

In fact the name “Lazarus” is the Hebrew name “Eleazer” which means “God has helped.” Lazarus trusted God as his one and only help. Money couldn’t help. A health plan or medical coverage couldn’t help. God alone was his help. He trusted God. He trusted his promises. He did not buy Satan’s lie, “If God cared about you, would he really let you suffer like this?” Rather, he trusted God’s love that had promised the Savior, his Savior. That’s the promise made through Moses and the Prophets. That’s the promise Lazarus clung to in faith.

In faith he looked past his earthly suffering and troubles and saw the eternal comfort of heaven, prepared for him by his Savior—yes, there with Abraham. Like a little child on Daddy’s lap, he found comfort resting in Abraham’s faith. He trusted God’s promise. Nothing could take that comfort of heaven away from him.

So find comfort resting in God’s promises, just as Lazarus did. Even if your life becomes so bad that dogs licking your sores is your only health care coverage and someone else’s trash seem like a banquet to you, even then find comfort in God’s promises. He has not forsaken you. Trust him. See how he gave up his Son for you. That’s all the proof of his love we need. That’s the proof the Lord’s Supper brings you: The body of Christ, given for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you. Such love has not failed you.

Even when this life with it’s wealth and promises of health fails, God’s love does not. Crawl up into the lap of his promises, revealed in the Scriptures alone. Snuggle there close to his heart. Trust him, so that when your last hour comes, like Lazarus you too can sing: “Lord, let at last your angels come; To Abram’s bosom bear me home That I may die unfearing. And in its narrow chamber keep My body safe in peaceful sleep Until your reappearing. And then from death awaken me That my own eyes with joy may see, O Son of God, your glorious face, My Savior and my Fount of grace. Lord Jesus Christ, My prayer attend, my prayer attend, And I will praise you without end.” Amen.

God our Father, you conquer the darkness of ignorance by the light of your Word. Strengthen within our hearts the faith you have given us; let not temptation ever quench the fire that your love has kindled within us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 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. Gregg Bitter.
The rich man and Lazarus had quite different lives and quite different deaths. What does this teach us about where to look for happiness?

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, September 29, 2019


The Daily Prayer
for SUNDAY, September 29, 2019

In his last sermon before being assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Lord, we thank you for the cloud of witnesses who remind us that loving you is a perpetual call to active duty. Grant us both passion and courage to answer the call to peace and justice, no matter where it might lead us. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, September 29, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3%3A20-21&version=NIV

John 3:20-21 (NIV) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Read all of John 3

Listen to John 3

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 - Domingo 29 de Septiembre de 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/un-dia-vez/2019/09/29

Días de preparación

Toda la Escritura es inspirada por Dios, y útil para enseñar [...] a fin de que el hombre de Dios sea perfecto, enteramente preparado para toda buena obra.

Si estás buscando un cambio en tu vida, y en especial le has pedido a Dios que te dé una oportunidad para cambiar, servir y cumplir con un llamado, piensa que Dios escucha con mucha seriedad tus peticiones. Por eso, va a empezar a dirigir tu vida de tal forma que te irá llevando a dejar cosas, a tomar decisiones muy duras para ti, pero que serán necesarias para los planes que tienes. Conozco personas que han hecho pactos con Dios y han dejado sus trabajos seculares que no honraban su nombre y han buscado algo que vaya de acuerdo a su estilo de vida.

¿Sabes lo que pasa a veces? Parecemos muy espirituales y nos dejamos llevar por las emociones. Le decimos al Señor: «Quiero ser misionero, quiero ser pastor y vivir para ti».

«Perfecto», dice Dios. «¿Estás dispuesto a dejarlo todo por mí? ¿Dejarías ese trabajo que te da buen dinero, pero te roba tiempo con tu familia? ¿O estás listo para ser misionero dejando tu familia y viajando a lugares en los que quizá no tengas una cama donde dormir y la comida no sea la más apetitosa?».

El servicio a Dios tiene un precio y sacrificios que enfrentar. Sin embargo, la gran verdad es que si Dios te llama, te capacita y te prepara. Creo que ya te lo dije, pero lo repito ahora: Así como los soldados van a la guerra, pero antes necesitan preparación física y entrenamientos muy fuertes, igual sucede con nosotros. Dios necesita prepararnos para darnos lo que anhelamos.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Si estás buscando un cambio en tu vida, y en especial le has pedido a Dios que te dé una oportunidad para cambiar, servir y cumplir con un llamado, piensa que Dios escucha con mucha seriedad tus peticiones.

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, September 29, 2019

https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/2019/09/29
NORTH KOREA TESTIMONY – PART 2

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
~ Romans 8:17 (NIV)

At the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town in October 2010, North Korean Gyeong Ju Son shared her moving life story. Here is the conclusion.

While staying at the Korean Consulate in Beijing, waiting to go to South Korea, her life was dramatically and irrevocably changed when Jesus came to her in a dream. She says:

“He had tears in His eyes. He walked towards me and asked ‘Gyeong Ju, how much longer are you going to keep me waiting? Walk with me. Yes, you have lost your earthly father, but I am your heavenly Father and whatever has happened to you, was because I love you.’”

Praying to God for the very first time, she gave Him her heart, soul, mind and strength, asking that she would be used at His will. A deep love for the lost people of North Korea and the need to bring the love of Jesus to them has subsequently become her life purpose. She continues:

“I look back over my short life and I see God’s hand everywhere. Six years in North Korea, eleven in China and now in South Korea. Everything I suffered; all the sadness and grief, all that I have experienced and learned; I want to give it all to God and use my life for His Kingdom. In this way I also hope to bring honor to my father.”

Now a student, the intention of this young and vibrant follower of Christ is to go to university to study political science and diplomacy, and then work for the rights of the voiceless in North Korea. She concluded:

“Brothers and sisters here in this place, I humbly ask you to pray that the same light of God’s grace and mercy that reached my father and my mother and now me, will one day soon dawn upon the people of North Korea, my people!”

RESPONSE: Today I will continue to believe that God takes terrible situations and turns them into good.

PRAYER: Lord, we pray that you will call many youths like Gyeong Ju to minister among the needy people of North Korea.

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 - September 29, 2019 - Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20190929

"Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones"

Sep. 29, 2019

"Ye watchers and ye holy ones, Bright seraphs, cherubim, and thrones, Raise the glad strain: 'Alleluia!' Cry out, dominions, princedoms, pow'rs, Virtues, archangels, angels' choirs: 'Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!'

"Respond ye souls in endless rest, Ye patriarchs and prophets blest: 'Alleluia, alleluia!' Ye holy Twelve, ye martyrs strong, All saints triumphant, raise the song: 'Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!'"

Today is the festival of St. Michael and All Angels, a day to celebrate the joyful service of God's holy angels, the "ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:14b). The psalmist calls on the angels to praise God: "Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts!" (Psalm 148:2), and our hymn issues the same invitation.

Medieval theologians, using various biblical references, developed an angelic order of nine ranks. The first verse of the hymn calls on each of those ranks to sing praise: seraphs, cherubim, thrones, dominions, princedoms, powers, virtues, archangels, and angels' choirs. Yet even with all the host of heaven joining in, it is not enough. Greater praise is due to our mighty God.

The second verse of the hymn invites Mary, the mother of our Lord, the "bearer of the eternal Word," to lead the praise. The third verse, above, calls on the patriarchs, biblical figures such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to join us. The prophets, Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, and all the rest are invited to sing. The 12 apostles and the martyrs, from Stephen onward, add their voices. "All saints triumphant," faithful believers, including family members and friends who now rest in the presence of Jesus, stand with us to cry out in joyful song, "Alleluia!"

Our fellow choir members have been with us all along on our journey of faith. In God's Word, we follow the lives of the patriarchs as God's plan of salvation unfolds and we trace our Savior's family line through the sacred pages. The prophets foretell the birth, life, death, resurrection, and return of our Lord. The apostolic writings reveal the life and work of our Savior and what it means to follow Him. In the lives of the martyrs, we see those who were faithful unto death and received the crown of life. In the earthly lives of the now-triumphant saints we are privileged to see—and so to follow-the example of faithful believers.

And the holy angels? They have been involved from the beginning, when at creation "all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7b). Gabriel—this is his festival day, too—announced the coming birth of the Savior, and angel choirs sang a hymn of praise when Jesus was born. Angels at the empty tomb declared the joyful news: "He has risen!" (See Matthew 28:1-10.) Angels have always been there, rejoicing each time a sinner repents. The angelic songs of praise have been going on for quite a while.

Let us lift up our voices and join in!

THE PRAYER: Almighty God, we give You thanks and praise for the service of Your holy angels and for their good news announcements of our Savior's birth and resurrection. Receive our grateful songs as we join in heaven's high praise. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • What's your idea of heaven? What do you think it will be like for you personally?
  • Heaven's often pictured as a place of endless songs and praises to God for His acts of love and mercy. If you set that idea of heaven aside for a moment, what else might go on there?
  • What's your favorite way to worship God—in song?—in quiet reflection?—with others?—some other way?

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
What's your idea of heaven?

Unser Täglich Brot - Wer bin ich?

https://unsertaeglichbrot.org/2019/09/29/wer-bin-ich-2/

Wer bin ich?

Lesung: 2. Mose 3,10-17 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Jesaja 7-8; Epheser 2

Ich bin, der ich bin. 2. Mose 3,14

Klaus mochte seinen Job, aber seit langem spürte er ein Ziehen in eine andere Richtung. Nun ist er dabei, seinen Traum zu erfüllen und in die Mission zu gehen. Aber merkwürdigerweise begann er, ernsthafte Zweifel zu bekommen.

„Ich verdiene das nicht“, erzählte er einem Freund. „Das Missionswerk kennt nicht mein wahres Ich. Ich bin nicht gut genug.“

Klaus ist damit nicht alleine. Erwähnt man den Namen Mose, denkt man an Leiterschaft und Stärke, an die 10 Gebote. Wir vergessen zu leicht, dass Mose in die Wüste floh, nachdem er einen Mann ermordet hatte. Wir verlieren es aus dem Blick, dass er 40 Jahre lang als Flüchtling lebte. Wir übersehen sein Problem mit dem Zorn und seine intensive Weigerung, Ja zu Gott zu sagen.

Als Gott mit dem Marschbefehl kommt (2. Mose 3,1-10), spielt Mose seine „Ich bin nicht gut genug“-Karte aus. Er lässt sich sogar auf eine lange Diskussion mit Gott ein und fragt ihn: „Wer bin ich?“ Gott sagt Mose dann, wer er ist: „Ich bin, der ich bin“ (V. 14). Es ist unmöglich für uns, diesen mysteriösen Namen zu erklären, denn unser unbeschreiblicher Gott beschreibt Mose seine ewige Gegenwart.

Ein gutes Gespür für unsere Schwächen ist gesund. Nutzen wir sie aber als Entschuldigung dafür, um Gott davon abzuhalten, uns zu gebrauchen, dann kränken wir ihn. Was wir nämlich wirklich sagen ist, dass Gott nicht gut genug ist.

Die Frage ist nicht, Wer bin ich? Die Frage ist, Wer ist dieser „Ich bin“?
Wann hat dieses Denken, nicht gut genug zu sein, dich davon abgehalten, Gott zu dienen? Wie ermutigt es dich, wenn du dir die Menschen aus der Bibel ansiehst, die Gott trotz ihrer Fehler benutzt hat?
Ewiger Herr, wir zweifeln so oft daran, dass du Menschen wie uns benutzen kannst. Aber du hast deinen Sohn geschickt, damit er für Menschen, wie uns, stirbt. Bitte vergib uns unsere Zweifel. Hilf uns die Herausforderungen, die du uns schickst, anzunehmen.


© 2019 Unser Täglich Brot
Klaus mochte seinen Job, aber seit langem spürte er ein Ziehen in eine andere Richtung. Nun ist er dabei, seinen Traum zu erfüllen und in die Mission zu gehen. Aber merkwürdigerweise begann er, ernsthafte Zweifel zu bekommen.