Monday, August 31, 2020

The Daily Bible Readings for MONDAY, August 31, 2020

The Daily Readings
MONDAY, August 31, 2020
Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18; Exodus 4:10-31; Revelation 3:1-6
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Today's Verse-of-the-Day: Psalm 95:6-7
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

Today's Readings:
God’s power like blazing fire
1 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord.

17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth.

Moses doubts but obeys God
10 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?

12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

14 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.

16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.

17 And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.

18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.

19 And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.

20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

21 And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him.

25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

27 And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.

29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

30 And Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.

31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

Wake up to your faithlessness
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

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 Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.
The Daily Readings for MONDAY, August 31, 2020
Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18; Exodus 4:10-31; Revelation 3:1-6 (KJV)

The Daily Prayer for MONDAY, August 31, 2020
The Daily Prayer
MONDAY, August 31, 2020

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero said this shortly before his assassination: “I am going to speak to you simply as a pastor, as one who, together with his people, has been learning the beautiful but harsh truth that the Christian faith does not cut us off from the world but immerses us in it; the church is not a fortress set apart from the city. The church follows Jesus, who lived, worked, struggled and died in the midst of a city, in the polis.”

Lord, help us not to conform to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Give us a new imagination so that we might live in ways that do not compute to the logic of materialism and militarism. Make us into holy nonconformists so that we might see the kingdoms of this world transformed into your glorious kingdom. Amen.

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — Blessed and Forgiven

Blessed and Forgiven

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Our psalm is one of the seven penitential psalms; the others are Psalms 6, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143. These psalms of repentance were grouped this way in the early centuries of the church. They are often used in worship, especially during the season of Lent. Yet the use of these psalms, including Psalm 32 above, is not restricted to Lent. These psalms provide the words for daily prayers of repentance.

According to the psalmist David, blessings fall to the person whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessings come to the one "in whose spirit there is no deceit." When it comes to matters of repentance, that necessary lack of deceit is explained more fully by the apostle John: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9).

Sin itself is deceitful and easily blinds us to our need for repentance and our need for a Savior. In these penitential psalms, the Word of God breaks through the deceit and reveals our need. David describes the spiritual and physical results of his futile attempts to conceal his sin: "For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer" (Psalm 32:3-4).

An earlier psalm describes our Lord's suffering on the cross in words that mirror the psalmist's struggle with hidden sin: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from saving Me, from the words of My groaning? ... I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint" (Psalm 22:1, 14a). Jesus bore in His body the sins of the world, the sins that caused His groaning, and put His bones out of joint. On the cross the terrible wrath of God against sin was revealed as the Son of God was abandoned to suffering and death. It was the price that had to be paid for our healing and forgiveness, for "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22b).

The psalmist acknowledged his sins, confessed his transgressions to the Lord, and received forgiveness. When we stop trying to hide our sins, when we confess our sins to God, He is "faithful and just to forgive us." In Jesus Christ, through His redeeming death and triumphant resurrection, we are blessed—our transgressions are forgiven, our sins covered.

To be "blessed" is to be happy, but it is much more than that. To be blessed is to receive God's favor, favor we do not deserve, favor granted for the sake of Jesus. Washed clean in Jesus' blood, we join close our prayer of repentance with words of praise: "Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!" (Psalm 32:11)

Almighty God and Father, we praise You for the gift of our Savior, whose blood has cleansed us from sin. Amen.

Dr. Carol Geisler

Reflection Questions:
1. Do you feel remorse for your sins? Do you repent of your sins? What happens next?

2. How does God cover our sins?

3. How is forgiveness of our sins even possible?
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Do you feel remorse for your sins? Do you repent of your sins? What happens next?

Standing Strong Through the Storm — MARTYRDOM

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

In Ambon, Indonesia, a Christian youth camp was held in early 1999 with the theme “Soldiers of the Cross!” The camp was attacked by an angry group of Muslim extremists and a 15-year-old boy named Roy Pontoh was singled out for carrying his Bible and interrogated.

When asked, “Who are you?” he replied, “I am a soldier of Jesus Christ.” The angry mob chopped at his left arm with a machete. The questioning continued, “Who are you?” And again Roy answered, “I am a soldier of Jesus Christ.” Then they chopped at his right arm.

When they tried to force him to say, “Allahu Akbar,” he replied, “As far as I know, Jesus Christ is the only Lord.” Now the seething angry crowd cut open his stomach and demanded again, “Who are you?” With his last breath, Roy gasped, “I am a soldier of Jesus Christ.” The mob cut off his head and threw his body in a ditch.

Martyrdom may be the end result of those who endure. In addition to Jesus, three martyrs are named in the New Testament—John the Baptist, Stephen, and James. Some of the unnamed heroes of the faith mentioned in Hebrews 11:37 were also martyred.

Martyrdom is described as a legitimate response to persecution. This is not easily understood in our day and in our culture that specializes in personal “rights” and the avoidance of suffering. But a special crown is awaiting those who lay down their lives for their faith.

The appropriate response to persecution that one chooses depends on that person’s intimate relationship with God the Holy Spirit and openness to His direction.

No doubt if you and I had talked to Roy Pontoh before his death, we may not have detected such bravery and loyalty to Jesus. Roy passed the hot water test with flying colors. He graduated to a special place with his Lord as a victorious overcomer.

Overcomers are like teabags. You have to put them in hot water to know how strong they are!

RESPONSE: Today I will live in faith and assurance that even in the test and threat of death I can be a victorious overcomer.

PRAYER: Pray that all those who may face physical death today for the cause of Christ will walk in faith and realize they will never die.

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

Women of the Bible — Elizabeth

Her name means: "God is my oath"

Her character: A descendant of Aaron, Elizabeth was a woman the Bible calls "upright in the sight of God." Like few others, male or female, she is praised for observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations without blame. She is the first to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
Her sorrow: To be barren for most of her life.
Her joy: To give birth to John, later known as John the Baptist, the Messiah's forerunner. His name, divinely assigned, means, "The Lord Is Gracious."
Key Scriptures: Luke 1:5-80

Her Story

Her eyes were a golden brown. Like currants set in pastry, they winked out at the world from cheeks that had baked too long in the sun. Snowy strands of hair straggled from beneath a woolen shawl, tickling her wrinkled face. Small hands rested tenderly on her rounded belly, softly probing for any hint of movement. But all was still. From her vantage point on the roof of the house, she noticed a figure walking up the pathway and wondered who her visitor might be.

She and Zechariah had been content enough in their quiet house these last few months, secluded in their joy. Each morning she had opened her eyes as though waking to a fantastic dream. Sometimes she shook with laughter as she thought about how God had rearranged her life, planting a child in her shriveled-up, old-woman's womb.

Six months ago, Zechariah had been chosen by lot to burn incense before the Most Holy Place, a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. But during his week of priestly service in the temple, he had been frightened half to death by a figure who appeared suddenly next to the altar of incense. "Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son," the angel told him, "and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord." It was Sarah and Abraham all over, Rebekah and Isaac, Rachel and Jacob. God was once again kindling a fire with two dry sticks.

For the life of her, Elizabeth couldn't understand her husband's response to the messenger that had so terrified him. Once you'd laid eyes on an angel, how could you fail to believe that anything was possible? But Zechariah had blurted out his skepticism and suffered the consequences. His voice had been snatched away and would not be given back until the angel's words came to pass. These days he communicated by scribbling on a wax tablet.

Elizabeth looked down again at the figure advancing up the path, a green sprig of a girl. The older woman stepped carefully down the stairs and into the house to welcome her guest. But with the young woman's words of greeting came something that felt like a gale-force wind, shaking the beams and rafters of the house. Steadying herself, the older woman felt suddenly invigorated. Her unborn baby leapt inside her as she shouted out a welcoming response: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Mary had made the journey all the way from Nazareth to visit her relative Elizabeth. The same angel who had spoken to Zechariah in the temple had whispered the secret of the older woman's pregnancy to the virgin, who was also with child. The magnificent song of praise that burst from Mary's lips during their meeting may have taken shape during the course of her sixty-mile journey south, to the hill country of Judea where Elizabeth lived.

The two women held each other, their bonds of kinship now stronger than what mere flesh and blood could forge. For Israel's God—the God of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Miriam, Deborah, Naomi, Ruth, Abigail, and Hannah—was on the move again, bringing the long-ago promise to fulfillment. And blessed was she who did not doubt that what the Lord had said to her would be accomplished.

Her Promise

God always keeps his promises! For hundreds of years, God had been telling the people of Israel that he would send a Messiah. One who would provide a direct bridge to God himself. One whose sacrifice would provide redemption for all time. The events in this first chapter of Luke are just the beginning of the fulfillment of God's greatest promise to his people. With Mary, we can say: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!"

This devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Used with permission.
Her eyes were a golden brown. Like currants set in pastry, they winked out at the world from cheeks that had baked too long in the sun. Snowy strands of hair straggled from beneath a woolen shawl, tickling her wrinkled face. Small hands rested tenderly on her rounded belly, softly probing for any hint of movement. But all was still. From her vantage point on the roof of the house, she noticed a figure walking up the pathway and wondered who her visitor might be.

John Piper Devotional — The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

The Father’s very soul exults with joy over the servant-like meekness and compassion of his Son.

When a reed is bent and about to break, the Servant will tenderly hold it upright until it heals. When a wick is smoldering and has scarcely any heat left, the Servant will not pinch it off, but cup his hand and blow gently until it burns again.

Thus the Father cries, “Behold, my Servant in whom my soul delights!” The worth and beauty of the Son come not just from his majesty, nor just from his meekness, but from the way these mingle in perfect proportion.

When the angel cries out in Revelation 5:2, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” the answer comes back, “Weep not; look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (5:5).

God loves the strength of the Lion of Judah. This is why he is worthy in God’s eyes to open the scrolls of history and unfold the last days.

But the picture is not complete. How did the Lion conquer? The next verse describes his appearance: “And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.” Jesus is worthy of the Father’s delight not only as the Lion of Judah, but also as the slain Lamb.
The Father’s very soul exults with joy over the servant-like meekness and compassion of his Son.

Un dia a la Vez — Oración por liberación
Oración por liberación

Si el Hijo los libera, serán ustedes verdaderamente libres.

Dios mío, sé que tú quieres liberarme de la pobreza y el desorden. Por eso, hoy me presento delante de ti entendiendo y reconociendo que soy tu hijo. También comprendo que, como hijo, tengo los derechos y los privilegios de ti, que eres mi Padre.

En este día cancelo con autoridad todas las enseñanzas negativas que me han hecho creer que, por ser cristiano, debo ser pobre.

Así que hoy entiendo que tú tienes bendiciones en abundancia para mi familia y para mí.

Gracias, Señor, porque he aprendido que tú eres un Dios de orden.

Mi Jesús, hoy te pido, por favor, que me libres de toda atadura y pongas en mi corazón el deseo de salir adelante y de luchar por alcanzar mis sueños.

Renuncio este día a la pobreza, al desorden, al abandono, a la suciedad, a la depresión y me declaro libre. Recibo tu bendición ahora.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

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

Devocional CPTLN — Bendecidos y perdonados

Bendecidos y perdonados

¡Cuán bienaventurado es aquel cuya transgresión es perdonada, cuyo pecado es cubierto! ¡Cuán bienaventurado es el hombre a quien el Señor no culpa de iniquidad, y en cuyo espíritu no hay engaño!
Salmo 32:1-2 (LBLA)

Este es uno de los siete salmos penitenciales; los otros son los Salmos 6, 38, 51, 102, 130 y 143. Estos salmos de arrepentimiento fueron agrupados de esta manera en los primeros siglos de la iglesia. A menudo se usan en la adoración, especialmente durante la temporada de Cuaresma, pero no están limitados a ella ya que proporcionan palabras para las oraciones diarias de arrepentimiento.

Según el salmista David, las bendiciones recaen sobre la persona cuyas transgresiones son perdonadas, cuyos pecados son cubiertos. Las bendiciones llegan a aquel "en cuyo espíritu no hay engaño". Cuando se trata de cuestiones de arrepentimiento, el apóstol Juan explica con más detalle esa necesaria falta de engaño: "Si decimos que no tenemos pecado, nos engañamos a nosotros mismos y la verdad no está en nosotros. Si confesamos nuestros pecados, Él es fiel y justo para perdonarnos los pecados y para limpiarnos de toda maldad" (1 Juan 1: 8-9).

El pecado es engañoso y fácilmente nos ciega a nuestra necesidad de arrepentimiento y de un Salvador. En estos salmos penitenciales, la Palabra de Dios rompe el engaño y nos revela esas necesidades. David describe los resultados espirituales y físicos de sus inútiles intentos por ocultar su pecado: "Mientras callé mi pecado, mi cuerpo se consumió con mi gemir durante todo el día. Porque día y noche tu mano pesaba sobre mí; mi vitalidad se desvanecía con el calor del verano" (Salmo 32:3-4).

Un salmo anterior describe el sufrimiento de nuestro Señor en la cruz con palabras que reflejan la lucha del salmista con el pecado oculto: "Dios mío, Dios mío, ¿por qué me has abandonado? ¿Por qué estás tan lejos de mi salvación y de las palabras de mi clamor?... Soy derramado como agua, y todos mis huesos están descoyuntados" (Salmo 22:1, 14a). Jesús cargó en su cuerpo los pecados del mundo, los pecados que lo hicieron gemir y descoyuntaron sus huesos. En la cruz, donde el Hijo de Dios fue abandonado al sufrimiento y la muerte, se reveló la terrible ira de Dios contra el pecado. Él pagó allí el precio que nosotros teníamos que pagar por nuestra sanidad y perdón, porque "sin derramamiento de sangre no hay perdón de pecados" (Hebreos 9:22b).

El salmista reconoció sus pecados, confesó sus transgresiones al Señor y recibió el perdón. Cuando dejamos de intentar ocultar nuestros pecados y confesamos nuestros pecados a Dios, Él es "fiel y justo para perdonarnos". A través de la muerte redentora y resurrección triunfante de Jesucristo somos bendecidos: nuestras transgresiones son perdonadas, nuestros pecados cubiertos.

Ser "bendecido" es recibir el favor de Dios, un favor que no merecemos, un favor concedido por la causa de Jesús. Lavados con la sangre de Jesús, cerramos nuestra oración de arrepentimiento con palabras de alabanza: "¡Alégrense en el Señor y regocíjense, justos; den voces de júbilo todos ustedes, los rectos de corazón! (Salmo 32:11).

ORACIÓN: Dios Todopoderoso y Padre nuestro, te alabamos por el regalo de nuestro Salvador, cuya sangre nos ha limpiado del pecado. Amén.

Dra. Carol Geisler

Para reflexionar:
* ¿De qué manera cubre Dios nuestros pecados?

* ¿Cómo es posible el perdón de nuestros pecados?
© Copyright 2020 Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Que a través de estos devocionales, la Palabra de Dios te refresque en tu diario caminar.
¿De qué manera cubre Dios nuestros pecados?

Notre Pain Quotidien — Le serviteur entend

Le serviteur entend

Lisez : 1 Samuel 3.1-10
La Bible en un an : Psaumes 135 – 136 ; 1 Corinthiens 12

L’Éternel vint et se présenta, et il appela comme les autres fois : Samuel, Samuel ! Et Samuel répondit : Parle, car ton serviteur écoute.

Si la radio avait été allumée, on aurait su que le Titanic était en train de couler plus rapidement. Cyril Evans, l’opérateur radio d’un autre navire, avait cherché à transmettre un message à Jack Phillips, l’opérateur radio du Titanic, pour lui faire savoir qu’ils étaient tombés sur un champ de glace. Toutefois, Phillips a brusquement demandé à Evans de se taire parce qu’il était occupé à transmettre des messages de la part des passagers. Evans a éteint à contrecœur sa radio et est allé se coucher. Dix minutes plus tard, le Titanic a heurté un iceberg et ses signaux de détresse sont restés sans réponse.

Nous lisons dans 1 Samuel que les sacrificateurs d’Israël étaient corrompus et avaient perdu leur vue et leur ouïe spirituelles, n’alertant donc pas la nation des dangers qu’elle courait. « La parole de l’Éternel était rare en ce temps-là, les visions n’étaient pas fréquentes » (1 S 3.1). Dieu n’allait toutefois pas abandonner son peuple. Il a commencé à parler à un jeune garçon nommé Samuel, qui grandissait dans la maison du sacrificateur. Or, le nom de Samuel, qui signifie « l’Éternel entend », évoquait l’exaucement de la prière de sa mère. Il reste que Samuel allait devoir apprendre à entendre Dieu.

« Parle, car ton serviteur écoute » (V. 10). Voilà le serviteur qui entend. Puissions-nous aussi choisir d’écouter ce que Dieu nous révèle dans la Bible et d’y obéir. Soumettons-lui notre vie et adoptons la posture d’humbles serviteurs, qui gardent leur « radio » allumée.
Précieux Jésus, merci pour la Bible, qui m’aide à te suivre avec obéissance. Parle, car ton serviteur écoute.
Lorsque nous lisons la Bible, Dieu nous parle et nous donne des directives.

© 2020 Ministères NPQ
Si la radio avait été allumée, on aurait su que le Titanic était en train de couler plus rapidement.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, August 30, 2020 — 13th Sunday After Pentecost

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, August 30, 2020 — 13th Sunday After Pentecost

Standing on Holy Ground
Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b; Romans 12:9-21;
Matthew 16:21-28
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Opening Sentences
Just when we think we have God figured out, God overturns our expectations once again. God takes an inarticulate, excuse-riddled murderer and turns him into one of the greatest leaders of the Hebrew people. Writing in Romans, Paul (who has a life-changing story to rival that of Moses) gives us an upside-down recipe for living in Christ: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Meanwhile, Jesus reminds us of one of the greatest, and most difficult, paradoxes of Christianity: to save your life you must first lose it. So we find ourselves once again surprised by the limitless and inexplicable nature of God’s love, and we rejoice to stand together on holy ground.

Take Up Your Cross

Opening Prayer
Surprising God, you have an uncomfortable habit of showing up where we least expect you: in a burning bush, in the face of an enemy, in a livestock feed trough, on a rough wooden cross. Turn our lives upside down with your radical love. Help us fully embrace your surprises, even as we revel in the joy of being fully embraced by your all-encompassing grace and mercy. We pray in the name of your most amazing surprise of all: your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
God of Mystery, we are constantly amazed by the depth and breadth of your love. Over and over again, you turn our expectations inside out and upside down. And still we don’t understand the radical nature of your grace. We play by our own rules of justice, even when it means excluding those we are called to love and defend. In our darkest moments, we doubt if we are worthy of your trust. God, help us remember that you give us all the tools we need; that through the solid foundation of your love, we find the strength to follow your call as true disciples of Jesus Christ. Surprise us again, O God. Surprise us again.

Assurance of Pardon
The God who brought our ancestors out of slavery will not desert us. God has promised to be with us throughout all generations. Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice, for God is with us!

First Reading
God calls Moses
3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.

10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Remembering Moses
1 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

4 Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

23 Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

26 He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

45b Praise ye the Lord.

Second Reading
Live in harmony
12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Gospel
The rebuke to Peter
16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostles’ Creed

  • I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

  • I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us;. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion

A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.

God promised to be with Moses, and we are here to witness to the fulfillment of that promise. From generation to generation, the God of Israel is also the God of (your community’s name). The God of the burning bush is waiting even now to encounter you, call you, challenge you, and change you. Go out to be sustained and surprised by the love of God. 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 Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.
The Daily Bible Readings
SUNDAY, August 30, 2020 — 13th Sunday After Pentecost
Standing on Holy Ground
Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

“Costly Grace” (Matthew 16:21-28)

Today, our gospel message comes to us from Matthew 16:21-28, “The rebuke to Peter.”

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”.

Heavenly Father, you sent your Son to reveal your will for our lives and redeem us from sin and death. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, inspire us with confidence that you are with us in the midst of the storms of life, bring peace to our troubled souls, and lead your church throughout the ages. Enable us to live as your redeemed saints, that our lives may witness to our faith. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

“Costly Grace”

Today’s gospel lesson follows on the heels of last week’s reading were we saw Peter make his confession. Remember last week, Peter was the hero of our lesson because he confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus had asked the disciples, “who do men say that I am?” The disciples gave him many different answers, then he asked them, “but who do you say that I am?” Then we get Peter’s great confession of faith, “Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter was a hero, he understood who Jesus really was, he understood that Jesus was no mere man, but a living part of the God of creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus was the Son of God who came to this earth to show and tell the people of God, the Israelites, about God in a very real and personal way. Peter had put it all together. For that moment, at least, he knew who Jesus was.

But in today’s lesson, Peter quickly changes from the hero to the goat, from one who is expounding some great truths, to one who is babbling and carrying on about things that he doesn’t understand, or even want to understand. Peter changes so quickly in fact that Jesus equates him with the devil when he says, “Get behind me Satan,” you are tempting me, you are hindering me you are trying to make me change my mind about the course that I am supposed to take. What did Peter do so wrong to change so quickly from the hero to a goat in just a few short minutes?

After Peter’s confession, Jesus began to tell the disciples about what lay ahead for him. Jesus told the disciples that he would suffer at the hands of the religious rulers, he would, in fact, be put to death by these rulers, but God would raise him on the third day. Jesus was explaining the concept of the suffering servant, the suffering Messiah to the disciples, and Peter out of love and respect, out of his own ideas about the Messiah, out of his own sense of glory and righteousness took Jesus in his large arms and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Peter could not let Jesus suffer because he loved him so much; he could not let Jesus suffer because he could not believe in a Messiah that was nothing less than a conquering Messiah. He could not let Jesus suffer because that was not the dreams and the expectations he had of Jesus, and the dreams and expectations he had of himself as a follower of Jesus. No, suffering was not apart of all of this, thought Peter.

But Peter was wrong. Suffering was apart of the plan that God had for Jesus. Jesus must suffer for the sins of this world to secure our salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells Peter it is God’s will for him to suffer, He says, “You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Men cannot understand the workings of God, men have their own thoughts about the plans of God, Jesus is saying, but God’s plans are that I must suffer so that you will not have to suffer. Jesus tells Peter in a sense that he must understand what the will of the Father for his son is. Peter must understand that suffering is part of this plan, not glory, not riches, not a grand army, but suffering, death, and the cross, then God will act to raise him on the 3rd day. God will bring life where there was death. God will bring glory where there was suffering. God will deliver Jesus from the hands of the devil and exalt him to the throne of glory at His right hand in the heavenly mansion in the sky. God will do all of this because he is a God of love.

Jesus then tells Peter, especially, but the disciples also, that everyone must take up his cross to follow him. Jesus is saying that being a follower of Jesus is no easy matter. There is sacrifice. There is giving up things. There is suffering. There is setting priorities in one’s life, so that those things that really do count, eternal life, have priority number one. Jesus is telling the disciples, and us this today, that whoever loses one’s life for him, will find it. Whoever forgets about the demands, the values, the standards of this world, whoever is willing to live totally for Jesus, that person will find life in Jesus, that person will know Jesus as the savior of life.

Jesus is saying that the Christian life is not easy, that it is the most difficult life to live because it is a life of sacrifice, that it is a life living for him instead of ourselves or the demands of this world. But in our day and age, we make the Christian life so easy. We continuously appeal to new members by stating how easy it is to join the church. The rigor and discipline of being a Christian have disappeared. We come to church when we feel like it or when we have nothing else to do. Our attendance usually depends on fair weather. Another person has described the Christian life in this age in a like manner. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a martyr during World War II in Germany, wrote in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, that Christians today are living by cheap grace. He says, “Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.… Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Bonhoeffer describes costly grace as “the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’”

Bonhoeffer describes a life that is fulfilling the charge of Jesus when he says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Bonhoeffer says we have lost sight of the grace which is so costly. We have turned the grace of God into something so simple, so watered down, something without meaning, that we don’t comprehend or fathom what it means in this day and age to be a follower of Jesus. Bonhoeffer doesn’t want to turn God’s grace into a new legalism, but he wants his readers to understand that responsibility goes along with the grace that God has given to us. He is pointing out that we have taken that responsibility to easily. We have said that God is such a loving God that he would understand and forgive when we don’t follow through on our part of the covenant he has made with us. We have taken God’s love for us for granted. It doesn’t mean anything to us that God chose to have his son die for us so that we might have eternal life. It doesn’t mean anything to us that Jesus sacrificed himself for us and our sins. It doesn’t mean anything to us that we are called upon by God to live in that same kind of lifestyle, that we are to live a life that reflects the same kind of love, compassion, and concern that Jesus had for humankind.

What we are hearing from this text today is a challenge for us to live a life that is not centered on self, nor on the world, but a life that is given over to Jesus and his demands. A life that is willing to sacrifice something, some priorities, some worldly values, some creature comforts so that we might serve our Lord and others around us.

I want to conclude with a story told by Victor Meyer. He says, “The party was changed with excitement... to which had been added a pinch of mellowness. It was the last time the graduating seminarians would be together before moving to their new areas of ministry.

Among all the conversations that night, one was most memorable. You see, Ed was going deep into the heart of Appalachia; a poor mining town to be specific. This particular field of mission would provide Ed with very little monetary compensation. He would have to be on guard to maintain his nutritional health. There would be some risk involved, too. People there didn’t like “no strangers move’ in.” He’d have to earn their trust and respect. The nearest medical doctor or facility for that matter was two hours away. Disease and sickness were common.

Ed was a guy with a lot going for him. He was skilled and sensitive and could serve the church almost anywhere. He could easily have gone to a nice suburban area; he didn’t have to settle for living in poverty. He could have opted for a classy church and thus spared himself the grief and ridicule he was absorbing from his father.

Ed chose freely to give up many things when he graduated. Why?? ‘Because,’ he said, ‘I believe Jesus meant it when he said I’d find real life, I’ll lose many things I enjoy and take for granted, but I expect to gain a fuller, richer life anyhow when I consider what Christ gave up for me and the people in poverty... well.... do I have another choice?’”

Do we have another choice as we live life???

Lord, thank You for the gift of this day. Whatever happens to me today, help me to consider today a blessing, for the mere fact that You’ve given me another day of life. Help me to carry my cross with strength, with humility and with confidence. Help me to deny my own desires and to seek after Your commandments. Help me to be a good follower. Help me to do these things today, and then tomorrow, and then the next day, for as many days as You will give me in my life to carry my cross and follow. As Your cross lead you not only to crucifixion but to Resurrection, help me to carry my cross not only in this life, but into Eternal Life. Amen.

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Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Sermon contributed by Tim Zingale.
Jesus tells Peter to “Get behind me, Satan.”

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, August 30, 2020
The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, August 30, 2020

In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ruby D. Robinson led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in their campaign to be seated at the Democratic National Convention, saying that they and thousands of African-Americans like them were “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Listen to the words of Fannie Lou Hamer in the midst of the civil rights struggle: “We have to realize just how grave the problem is in the United States today, and I think the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the eleventh and twelfth verses help us to know what it is we are up against. It says, ‘Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ This is what I think about when I think of my own work in the fight for freedom.”

Sweet Lord, save us. Heal all that is broken in our lives, in our streets, and in our world. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, August 30, 2020

Ephesians 2:19
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God…
Read all of Ephesians 2

Listen to Ephesians 2

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — Almighty Father, Bless the Word

Almighty Father, Bless the Word

♫ "Almighty Father, bless the Word, Which through Your grace we now have heard. Oh, may the precious seed take root, Spring up, and bear abundant fruit!

"We praise You for the means of grace, As homeward now our steps we trace. Grant, Lord, that we who worshiped here, May all at last in heav'n appear." ♫

"We praise You for the means of grace." In our hymn, we give thanks and praise to God for the means of grace, that is, for the Word and the Sacraments. These gracious gifts of God are the means, or channels, through which His forgiveness comes to us. Water will flow from a greater source—perhaps a reservoir, lake, or river—through a canal, pipeline, or channel to irrigate thirsty crops in a field. By God's grace, the forgiveness that Jesus won for us on the cross flows into our lives through channels of the written and spoken Word and through God's created, earthly gifts of water, bread, and wine in Baptism and Holy Communion.

The water rushing through irrigation canals and pipelines brings life and growth to fields planted with crops and orchards full of fruit. Rushing through the channels of His grace, God's generous, restoring forgiveness fills our lives, creating and nourishing faith in Christ Jesus and giving growth to the "abundant fruit" that springs from faith. In the means of grace that is Baptism, by the work of the Holy Spirit in the water and the Word, faith was created in our hearts as the Gospel seed took root in our lives. Our faith is nourished through God's Word and through the forgiveness we receive as we partake of Jesus' body and blood in His Holy Supper. Faith grows and bears fruit, the rich fruit of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23a).

Our hymn is one that is often sung at the close of a worship service. We have gathered with brothers and sisters in Christ to hear the Word of God, to receive His forgiveness through the Word and through the gift of Jesus' body and blood. Having offered up to God our praise for His grace and His gifts, we leave worship as "homeward now our steps we trace." In our churches, in our homes, with our families, among our neighbors, in schools, and at our places of work—in every place where we carry out our daily callings—the abundant fruit of the Spirit is expressed through our words and actions. Through that fruit, Jesus' love is reflected in the love we show to others. The Holy Spirit is at work in our words of witness, as the seed of the Gospel is sown among them.

In our hymn we pray that we who have worshiped together on earth will one day meet again before God's throne. There we will enjoy different fruit, invited "to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7b). That blessed tree has its own irrigation source, "the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1b).

Almighty Father, we offer our thanks and praise for the means of grace. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to share with others abundant fruit of love and service, in Jesus' Name. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Almighty Father, Bless the Word."

Reflection Questions:
1. How do you take advantage of the means God gives us to grow in His Word?

2. Is going to Communion important for you? What benefit does it bring you?

3. Reading the Bible with others is a great way to grow in your faith? Do you do that with your family, a friend, or in a Bible study group?
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
How do you take advantage of the means God gives us to grow in His Word?