Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, October 13, 2019 - 18th Sunday after Pentecost

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, October 13, 2019 - 18th Sunday after Pentecost
[Ordinary 28, Proper 23]
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)

Sing Praise to God
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7; Psalm 66:1-12; 2 Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19

Opening Statement
The prophet Jeremiah tells the exiles living in Babylon to live their lives in this foreign place by making themselves at home and working to support the community where they are living. They are to remember God’s promise to them that God would one day send them home to Jerusalem. They are to keep their focus on God. We might hear Psalm 66 as a strong invitation to praise God who, in spite of persistent testing, always brings God’s people to a place of refreshment for the soul.  In 2 Timothy Paul teaches “Christ” at the center of our lives and offers an encouragement to present ourselves to God as we try to do our best. In so doing we praise God. In Luke Christ grants a request for healing. One of the ten recognized the gift and took the time to praise God with the kind of fervor suggested in Psalm 66. These passages repeat a theme of using our voices, our bodies and our lives to praise God with energy, a sense of aliveness, and purpose. God is present and is to be recognized.

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)
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Let us pray:
We cannot sing our praise to you O God, when we dishonor your creation.
We cannot sing our praise to you O God, when we use our voices to defame others.
We cannot sing our praises to you O God, when we claim for ourselves the honor due to you.
We cannot sing our praises to you O God, when we fail to recognize your healing work.
In order that we might sing we need you and nothing else at the center of our lives.
Place new desires in our hearts so that we sing to you and to you alone.
We make this prayer to you, O God from the places within our being where a reminder of your love is needed.

Assurance of Pardon
Even when we feel ourselves exiled and far from you, even when we forget to sing your praises, You assure us that you have not forgotten us! We are comforted by your promise of forgiveness and love.

First Reading
(Israel plants gardens in Babylon)
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles in Babylon
29:1 These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

The Psalm
(God holds our souls in life)
Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel
To the leader. A Song. A Psalm.
1  Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
2    sing the glory of his name;
     give to him glorious praise.
3  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
     Because of your great power, your enemies cringe
         before you.
4  All the earth worships you;
      they sing praises to you,
    sing praises to your name.”   Selah

5  Come and see what God has done:
     he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
6  He turned the sea into dry land;
     they passed through the river on foot.
   There we rejoiced in him,
7    who rules by his might forever,
   whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
     let the rebellious not exalt themselves.   Selah

8  Bless our God, O peoples,
     let the sound of his praise be heard,
9  who has kept us among the living,
     and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
     you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
     you laid burdens on our backs;
12 you let people ride over our heads;
     we went through fire and through water;
   yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.

Second Reading
(We will live with Christ)
2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 The saying is sure:

   If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
   if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
   for he cannot deny himself.

A Worker Approved by God
14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

The Gospel
(One leper gives thanks to God)
Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers
17:11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

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.] Sing Praise to God Opening Statement, Confession and Assurance of Pardon was written by Henrietta Stith Andrews, a retired United Church of Christ Pastor. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
The Sunday Lectionary Readings
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 (Israel plants gardens in Babylon); Psalm 66:1-12 (God holds our souls in life); 2 Timothy 2:8-15 (We will live with Christ); Luke 17:11-19 (One leper gives thanks to God)

“What kind of a leper are you?” The Sermon for SUNDAY, October 13, 2019 - 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Our Gospel message comes to us today from the 17th chapter of Luke, beginning with the 11th verse.

17:11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
Luke 17:11-19 (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.

“What kind of a leper are you?”

What kind of a leper are you? I know, that has to be one of the most unusual questions you’ve probably ever been asked. So why am I asking you this question?

Our Gospel lesson today introduces us to a group of 10 “mystery” men. I say this because we don’t know much about these guys. They may come from completely different backgrounds, be different ages, and for all we know, they may not get along very well. But, they had one common experience that ended up joining them together. They had lived relatively anonymous lives up until something happened. Maybe it started out as a white patch on the skin, or an open sore that just wouldn’t seem to heal properly, but whatever the symptom, they knew they needed a diagnosis. So they went to the priest, to determine what was going on, and received a diagnosis no one wanted to hear. Leprosy. In those days, there was no known cure. It was, essentially, a death sentence.

But instead of the patient being placed into hospice care, and be surrounded by family and friends in their remaining time, the law of the day stated that they were to leave the city. They were, in essence, outcasts from society, out of fear that the leprosy would spread and infect others. The fear was so great, that if someone who was not a leper approached them, the leper was required to cry out “unclean, unclean, stay away!”

Somehow, these ten men who have leprosy are banded together by that common denominator. They may not have otherwise known each other if circumstances were different, but here they are, together, with this dreaded disease, along a lonely, remote border between Samaria and Galilee. Their only hope was to be miraculously cured of their disease.

Suddenly, one day, Jesus appears. They’ve heard the Word about Him. They heard He has the power to do some miraculous things: He’s given the blind their sight, He’s made the lame walk, He’s made the mute shout out for joy and unstopped the ears of the deaf. If He could do all of that, maybe He could help! And He appears to be coming in their direction!

So instead of crying out “Unclean, Stay Away!” which the Law required, they cry out “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” And He hears their cry. He sees their situation, and simply tells them to “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” There’s only one reason that Jesus would say that. The priests, the ones who initially declared them “Unclean”, were the ones who had the power to declare them “clean”, offer up the appropriate sacrifice, and allow them to return to their lives.

As they’re headed to the priests, these ten men look and see the white spots and the open sores disappear. It’s true! They’re healed! They’ll be declared clean, and they have their lives back! 9 of them keep running to the priests to receive this gift of new life right away. One of them stops dead in his tracks, turns around, runs back to Jesus, praises God in a loud voice, falls at Jesus’ feet, and gives Him thanks and praise.

It’s astonishing enough that only one of these ten comes back to do this. But this is the part of the story where I have to share with you the last thing we know about these 10 lepers that shows you why this is an even bigger deal than it initially appears. Nine of them are Jews, considered to be part of the “people of the covenant with God.” The other, the one who returned to give Jesus thanks and praise, well, he was a Samaritan. Considered an “outsider”, cut off from God’s covenant. Samaritans, you see, descended from Israelites left behind after Samaria’s destruction in 722 BC and included foreigners imported by Assyrian kings. Because of intermarriage between the Jews and the non-Jews that took place over the years since, the Samaritans were not viewed as part of God’s covenant people anymore, and endured being called derogatory names by the Jews such as “half breed” among others, and Jews avoided them every chance they had. Needless to say, long standing, deep-seated hostility existed between Jews and Samaritans. Considering the Jews attitude toward Samaritans, and vice-versa, and the fact that Jesus himself was a Jew, it’s beyond belief that a Samaritan, of all people, would be the one who would come back to give Jesus thanks and praise for this gift of healing.

And what does Jesus say? “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” “Rise and go you way, your faith has made you well.” You see, that last statement has something to say to us. “Your faith has made you well.” Jesus sees that this man believes that Jesus has much more than physical healing to offer. He has forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation to give. That’s why this man returns to give thanks and praise to Jesus. He’s so grateful for the gift Jesus has given to him.

The other nine? They have their gift. They believed that Jesus had gifts to give in this life, but when it came to matters of eternal life, that’s a different story. They got what they wanted from Jesus for this life, and left before He could give them more gifts.

It’s important to note here that Jesus doesn’t take away the gift of physical healing from them simply because of their sin of ingratitude. But there is a difference in the healings that take place that day along that lonely boarder. The nine who kept going and never returned were looking for a physical healing, and Jesus gave them that. But, while they may be healed from the disease of leprosy, they still have to face the wages of sin someday. There will come a time when their bodies will start to deteriorate. Perhaps they will contract leprosy again, or it will be some other physical ailment. But eventually, they face disease, and death. The healing they sought will only last for a relatively short time.

The Samaritan who returns to give Jesus thanks and praise, yes, he has that healing the other nine had. But, he recognizes that Jesus has more to give. He realizes that Jesus is taking His sins to the cross to die for them there, that Jesus has more gifts to give, the kind of healing that will last for eternity. When he realizes this, this Samaritan, the least likely person, comes back to thank Jesus for this gift. That’s why Jesus says “Your faith has made you well.” This Samaritan knows his position. He doesn’t deserve any of this because of who he is. This is all because of who Jesus is. This healing that took place was all Jesus’ work. He realizes that Jesus is the one who will provide eternal healing by winning forgiveness, life, and salvation for all. This Healer is also his Savior. That’s why Jesus says “rise and go, your faith has made you well.” Jesus already gave this man physical healing, but now, He has told this Samaritan, “You believe that I am the one who will give you eternal healing. Go, your faith in Me will make you well for eternity.”

And so it’s appropriate to really look at what took place that day on that boarder near Samaria and Galilee. And as we do, we come to realize that, truth be told, we actually have a lot of similarities with the lepers in our text.

First, we are infected with a disease that threatens to separate us from God and from each other. That disease is sin. It eats away at every aspect of our lives, be it our relationship with God, our relationships with other people, and our apparent lack of thanks for what God has given to us. Like those 9 Jews, we have a tendency to look at others as “outsiders.” Those who are of a different nationality or ethnic background from us, those who wish to practice their faith in a way that’s different from us, so that we decide that they are not “really Christian”, those who were not lifelong members of our churches, or those who don’t ever come to church anywhere. Sometimes, in things that we say and do, we act as if we are the only ones who God has a covenant with, and it’s our responsibility to keep that pure. Or, when we hear God’s Word of Law accuse us of a particular sin, instead of confessing it, we shrug it off or say “yeah, but I’m not as bad as THAT person over there!” Other times, when God gives us good gifts, we ignore the fact that He was the giver of those gifts. We take the credit for ourselves, not realizing that everything we have in life is a gift from Him for us to manage for a time. That’s sin infecting our lives; sin that threatens to choke off our lifeline with God if something isn’t done about it. Like a cancer that’s just ignored and allowed to grow. And just like a patient with a terminal illness for which there is no known cure, like the lepers in our text, we need nothing short of a miracle to heal us.

But while we at times act in ways that are like the nine lepers who didn’t return to give Jesus thanks and praise, you are here reading this sermon. You’re here because you, hopefully, recognize that God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the true source of everything that you have. Your job, your family, your home, even your church, everything you have, isn’t really yours. It’s God’s. And He has graciously given it to you to be a steward over, to take care of faithfully as He would have you do so. You recognize, like that Samaritan leper, that on your own, you have no worthiness of anything that God has given to you. But, you cried out “Jesus, Master, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And He took your sin, sickness, and infirmities to the cross, to suffer and die for them there. So that now, today, you can hear Your Savior tell you “rise and go on your way, your faith has made you well.”

You may have other things on your mind. You may be missing a loved one at the table. You may be dealing with a family crisis, where a family member isn’t speaking to another one over something that happened that caused that relationship to be damaged or outright destroyed. A friend or family member, or perhaps even you yourself may be seriously ill and you don’t know what will happen. You may be worried about a possible job loss, or a reduction of your income, and wondering how you will support your family, especially with Christmas coming up. It may be next to impossible for you to be like that Samaritan leper to give thanks and praise to God, because it might be next to impossible, if not impossible, for you to find a reason to be thankful for anything.

But as you read this, you know Your Savior, Jesus Christ, your ultimate Healer of body and soul is with you. You know through His Word that He has died for your sins. That He has eternal healing to give to you. That those sins of thought, word, and deed, that would separate you from Him are forgiven! You are set free to live a life of thanksgiving, even in the most difficult of times. You know that even though God has provided you with all you need to support this body and life, you also know that more importantly, He gives you all that you need for eternal life. You know that the suffering you endure in this life is only temporary. And because of that, you can be thankful!

Yes, thankful! We’re thankful that our sins, even our sins of ingratitude for what God has given to us, are all forgiven for the sake of Christ. We are thankful that whatever suffering we endure in this life, will only be temporary. We’re set free from living for ourselves, and living our lives in thankful service to others, so that they, too, can receive all of the gifts that God has to offer for us, both in this life, and most importantly, for eternal life.

So remember Who it is that gives you everything you need to support this body and life. Remember that where you were once an “outsider” from God, Jesus Christ has lived, died, and risen again, and once again, has given you some pretty amazing gifts, so that you will no longer be a stranger and alien, but a redeemed child of God. Indeed, in the words of the 107th Psalm, we rejoice to say “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.”

What kind of a leper are you? Are you one of the thankless lepers who is simply looking for things in this life, and once you get them, you run away from Jesus, without even uttering a word of thanks, ignoring whatever other gifts He has to give you, gifts that are more important? Or are you like the “foreigner”, the “Thankful Leper”, the one who returned to give glory to God, and received even more gifts from Jesus? The answer to this question lies every day of our lives, living as thankful servants of Jesus Christ, showing our faith through our thankfulness, by giving God thanks and praise for what He has done for us, and to receive the even better gifts that He has to offer us. May we be thankful lepers, who give our Lord thanks and praise by living a life of thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for giving you the gifts of healing for this life, and for eternal life.

Heavenly Father, I know that I have neglected to thank you for so many blessings. You've blessed me and waited for me to run back to you with thanks, and I've gone my way. I've taken you for granted. Please forgive me. Put thankfulness into my heart and soul. Let me speak it, sing it, and live it. That I might be a visible not silent example of one whom you have healed. In Jesus' name, I pray. 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. Christopher Martin.
What kind of a leper are you? Are you one of the thankless lepers who is simply looking for things in this life, or are you like the one who returned to give glory to God, and received even more gifts from Jesus?

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, October 13, 2019

The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, October 13, 2019

In his Rule for monastic communities, Benedict of Nursia wrote, “With all this in mind, what we mean to establish is a school for the Lord’s service. In the guidance we lay down to achieve this, we hope to impose nothing harsh or burdensome. If, however, you find in it anything which seems rather strict, but which is demanded reasonably for the correction of vice or the preservation of love, do not let that frighten you into fleeing from the way of salvation; it is a way which is bound to seem narrow to start with. But, as we progress in this monastic way of life and in faith, our hearts will warm to its vision, and with eager love and delight that defies expression, we shall go forward on the way of God’s commandments. Then we shall never think of deserting his guidance; we shall persevere in fidelity to his teaching in the monastery until death so that through our patience we may be granted some part in Christ’s own passion and thus in the end receive a share in his kingdom. Amen.”

Lord, it is a privilege to abide by your word and to discipline ourselves in the Spirit. Present us with ample opportunities today to water the seeds of discipline in our lives that they might in time bear fruit, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, October 13, 2019

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Read all of Jeremiah 29

Listen to Jeremiah 29

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 13 de Octubre de 2019

Oración por fidelidad

Amen al Señor, todos sus fieles; él protege a los dignos de confianza.
Salmo 31:23 (NVI)

¡Oh, Dios mío, qué claro eres en tu Palabra! Sin embargo, ¡qué necios somos! Por eso caemos con facilidad en las redes de Satanás que nos presenta todo llamativo y agradable. Entonces, a la larga viene el final tan amargo por nuestras equivocaciones.

Señor, tú creaste el matrimonio y estableciste como mandamiento la fidelidad, a fin de que seamos felices y bendecidos.

Ayúdanos, Padre, a tener nuestra mirada puesta en ti y a huir de la tentación.

Danos tanto el querer como el hacer, y pon en cada uno de nosotros un nuevo amor por nuestros cónyuges.

Perdóname, mi Dios, y restaura mi vida. Dame la oportunidad de reconocer mi falta y recuperar mi matrimonio.

También te pido que me guardes de la amarga experiencia de la infidelidad y de todo peligro. No me dejes caer en tentación y líbrame del mal, de modo que sea capaz de cumplir el pacto de fidelidad que hice en el altar.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Oración por fidelidad

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, October 13, 2019

…so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:5 (NIV)

Training for Christian women in Pakistan, where poverty and illiteracy abound, has proven to reflect the character of the body of Christ.

A student says, “It’s important for me to be here so I can learn to read and write. Then I can read the Bible for myself, which is the most important thing for me. I want the Gospel to spread throughout our country. Now I study hard and I can write my name. I intend to stand before the people and read the Bible by myself so that other people may be encouraged to learn to read and write in the same way.

One teacher named Gladys says, “I have a gift for sewing, cutting, and embroidery. The other gift God has given me is to share with other people and tell them about Jesus. That is the opportunity I have and that is what I am doing here. When I began here, I said to them, ‘I am not educated. I can’t teach anyone.’ But then the Lord said to me, ‘This is My work. I will use you.’

“We do face discrimination because we live in the midst of people who don’t want us to move forward, people who keep trying to push us down so that we will always be in slavery. But the women testify to what God has done for them in their lives. From the time they first come here, I can see God changing their lives because the way they speak changes and they talk about the love they’ve been shown and how that has affected their lives. If someday a mother’s children are Christian because I taught her, I would be so happy because I would know that God had done His work through me.

Another teacher reports, “I first came to the center to learn sewing skills. But my father took me out of the center. He sent me to work for a Muslim family who lived in Turkey. The family said that I should give up my faith because it was no good. I told them that God had blessed me through this faith, and that I could not find such a blessing anywhere else, and that my faith meant everything to me.

“Then one time, when their daughter was ill, they taunted me and said I better pray for her and see what Jesus would do. So I did pray for her, and she was healed. They knew I had prayed to my God for her and so they exclaimed, ‘Glory to God! Surely your Jesus does answer prayers.’

Before I left them, I testified to them, and they said that my prayers work, but I told them, ‘It’s not my prayers. It is the Lord who causes us to pray and it is the Lord who heals.’ And they had to admit that it was true, and that my God truly does work.”

Another student concludes, “The Church is the body of Christ. We have to help each other to share the love of Jesus as He has shown us.”

RESPONSE: Today I will share my giftedness with others and help build up the body of Christ.

PRAYER: Pray for the Open Doors training sessions around the world—especially among poor and illiterate Christian women.

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 - October 13, 2019 - For All the Faithful Women

"For All the Faithful Women"

Oct. 13, 2019

"For all the faithful women who served in days of old, To You shall thanks be given; to all, their story told. They served with strength and gladness in tasks Your wisdom gave. To You their lives bore witness, proclaimed Your pow'r to save.

"For Ruth, who left her homeland and ventured forth in faith, Who pledged to serve and worship Naomi's God till death, We praise You, God of Israel, and pray for hearts set free, To bind ourselves to others in love and loyalty."

Ruth is one of four women listed in Jesus' family tree: four women who share a certain notoriety. Tamar was involved in an incestuous relationship, Rahab was a prostitute, and the wife of Uriah committed adultery with King David. Ruth was not an Israelite; her homeland was Moab, the land to which the family of her mother-in-law Naomi fled during a famine in Israel. Naomi's sons took Moabite wives, one of whom was Ruth, but after Naomi's husband and sons died, the widowed mother prepared to return to Israel.

Although Naomi protested the decision, Ruth was determined to return with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem. Ruth promised to take Israel and Israel's God as her own and pledged to keep that promise faithfully until death. Ruth married Naomi's kinsman, a man named Boaz. Obed, the son of Ruth and Boaz, became the father of Jesse who, in turn, became the father of David, Israel's great king. Ruth of Moab and her great grandson David became ancestors of a greater king, the Son of David, Jesus our Lord.

It is fitting that Jesus should have both Jews and Gentiles—those who, like Ruth, are not descendants of Abraham—in His family tree, for He is not only Israel's Messiah, but the Lord of all nations. He came, as the apostle Paul writes, to reconcile both Jews and Gentiles to God through His death on the cross. Called from every nation, the redeemed in Christ are now "fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19).

God in His grace gave Ruth, who returned to Bethlehem with Naomi, a place in the genealogy of Jesus His Son, the Child of Bethlehem and Savior of the nations. As Ruth faithfully pledged her love and loyalty to Naomi, we too "bind ourselves to others in love and loyalty." We do so in the Name of Ruth's great descendant, the promised Son of David, who bound Himself to the world in love, even to the point of death on the cross. The Lord of nations, by His death and resurrection, overcame sin, death, and Satan, reconciling both Jews and Gentiles to God. We pray that the Holy Spirit, at work through our service and witness, will continue to bring people of every nation into the household of God.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, like Ruth, who pledged her love and loyalty to Naomi and to the God of Israel, we pledge ourselves to worship in Your holy Name and to lives of love and service to others. Help us by Your Spirit to be faithful to our promise. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  • Can you name other women besides those mentioned here who played prominent roles in either the Old or New Testaments?
  • The story of Jesus' lineage is an amazing one. Did the four women mentioned above (and the character of their lives) surprise you in any way? Does it say anything about how God works to accomplish His purposes?
  • What are some ways that women are particularly gifted by God to serve and help advance His kingdom?

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "For All the Faithful Women." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Can you name other women besides those mentioned here who played prominent roles in either the Old or New Testaments?

Unser Täglich Brot - Das Warten lohnt sich

Das Warten lohnt sich

Lesung: 1. Thessalonicher 1,1-10 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Jesaja 41-42; 1. Thessalonicher 1

Und wir warten sehnsüchtig auf ihn, auf die Rückkehr unseres Erlösers. Philipper 3,20

Außerhalb des Shibuya-Bahnhofs in Tokio, steht eine Statue, die an einen Akita-Hund namens Hachiko erinnert. Hachiko wird wegen seiner ungewöhnlichen Treue gegenüber seinem Besitzer, einem Universitätsprofessor, gewürdigt. Jeden Morgen begleitete der Hund den Professor zu diesem Bahnhof und kam jeden Nachmittag pünktlich zurück, sobald der Zug ankam.

Eines Tages kehrte der Mann nicht zurück. Er war traurigerweise bei der Arbeit verstorben. Aber für den Rest seines Lebens, ganze neun Jahre lang, tauchte Hachiko täglich zur Ankunftszeit des Zuges am Bahnhof auf. Tagtäglich, egal wie das Wetter war, wartete der Hund treu auf die Rückkehr seines Herrn.

Paulus würdigte die Thessalonicher wegen ihrer Treue und verwies auf ihre „Werke des Glaubens, an die Liebe“ und „die Geduld, mit der ihr auf Jesus Christus, unseren Herrn, hofft“ (1. Thessalonicher 1,3). Trotz harscher Opposition verließen sie ihre alten Wege, „um dem wahren und lebendigen Gott zu dienen, und die Rückkehr seines Sohnes vom Himmel zu erwarten“ (V. 9-10).

Diese lebendige Hoffnung auf ihren Retter und seine Liebe inspirierte diese frühen Christen, um über ihre Schwierigkeiten hinauszuwachsen und ihren Glauben enthusiastisch weiterzugeben. Sie waren sicher, dass es nichts Besseres gab, als für Jesus zu leben. Wie gut ist es zu wissen, dass der gleiche Heilige Geist, der in ihnen lebte (V. 5) auch uns zurüstet, um Jesus treu zu dienen, während wir auf seine Rückkehr warten.
Worauf freust du dich am meisten, wenn du mit Jesus zusammen sein wirst? Wie teilst du deine Hoffnung in ihn?
Wunderbarer Retter, hilf mir „mutig und tapfer“ zu sein und auf dich zu warten! (Psalm 27,14).

© 2019 Unser Täglich Brot
Worauf freust du dich am meisten, wenn du mit Jesus zusammen sein wirst?