Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, September 6, 2020 — 14th Sunday After Pentecost
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, September 6, 2020 — 14th Sunday After Pentecost

Ready to Go
Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 149; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Opening Prayer
Gracious God, we come this day seeking courage and hope for the future. Our world is in such peril. Heal these wounds and quiet the words of war. Help us to be those who bring peace in our families and communities. Banish the darkness of doubt and fear; anoint us with your light and love that we may spread the good news of your mercy to everyone. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Forgiving and loving God, our hearts are filled today with pain and concern for the future of humankind. Words of anger assail our airways—we cannot escape from the threats being thrown about. In our fear, we cry “Where are you, O Lord?” We wander around in the darkness of the spirit, seeking light and hope. Forgive us when we forget that you are always with us, through times of peace and times of war. Heal our souls. Help us to reach out to others with the assurance of your love and presence, for we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
God hears our prayers and our cries. God leads us out of the darkness of the past into the bright promise of today. We are called to stand strong and confident in God’s Love. Rejoice, dear friends, for that love which began before creation flows in and through you this day!

First Reading
The passover
The Passover celebrates God’s miraculous deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt. The focal point of the ceremony was the sacrifice of a Passover lamb whose blood was placed on the doorframes of the houses of the Israelites. While God enacted his final plague, the killing of the firstborn of the nation of Egypt, those living in homes marked by blood were spared death.

God provided clear specifications for the lamb that could be used at Passover—the lamb had to be a young male, without blemish or defect. In order to ensure its purity, the lamb was examined for four days following its selection. Those animals meeting God’s requirements were sacrificed in public, and none of the animal’s bones could be broken (Ex 12:46). The severity of the coming judgment required that the people of God observe this sacrifice with the utmost care. The annual commemoration of the Passover reminded the people both of the faithfulness of God to provide deliverance for his people and of their ongoing need for a substitute to pay the price their sin deserved.

The Passover sacrifice is one of the clearest pictures in the Old Testament of the coming work of Jesus. At the beginning of his earthly ministry, John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). His life met the requirements for a Passover sacrifice. He too was a young male, perfect in all ways. He would die a heinous, public death, though none of his bones were broken in the process (Jn 19:36). Because of Jesus’ death, those covered by his blood are spared the coming judgment (Ro 5:9; Eph 2:13).
12:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying,

2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover.

12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

Sing praise in the congregation
Psalm 149 serves as a challenge to God’s people to give God their best effort when praising him. Believers are not called to recite praises mundanely to God with little to no care about the actual words they are saying, but rather they are to enter into praise with great joy and with heartfelt emotion. The psalmist encourages people to sing “a new song,” to “praise [God’s] name with dancing,” and to “sing for joy on their beds” (vv. 1,3,5). There is a reason that Psalms has the most chapters of any book in the Bible; there are so many ways to sing to God and to bring him praise!
149:1 Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.

6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;

7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;

8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;

9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.

Second Reading
Live honorably as in the day 
Before Jesus died He called the disciples to love one another in the way He had loved them (John 13:34). The surrounding world, He said, would know they belonged to Jesus by their love (John 13:35). The love of God flowing through the followers of Jesus would enable the world to believe in Him (John 17:20–23). Paul raised the same call. He said that to love one another is to fulfill the entire Law (vv. 8, 10).

In prayer ask God to show you how to love the people around you in tangible ways. Look for needs and find ways to help. Ask Him to help you shift your focus away from your own needs and desires in order to focus more on the purposes of God. Ask God to fill you with supernatural love for other people—even your enemies.
13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

The Gospel
Reconciliation in the community of faith
There may be no clearer passage in the Gospels on conflict resolution than Matthew 18. While Jesus spoke about addressing sin in the church, His words suggest broader principles.

According to Jesus, addressing conflict and healing offenses should be a priority for us. He even instructs us to postpone our worship if we remember an unresolved offense (Matt. 5:23, 24).

Conflicts will arise in any organization. Humans disagree because they are wired differently and have different agendas. Note what Jesus taught about organizational conflict when someone has clearly done wrong:

1. Initiate the contact (v. 15).

2. Confront the person in private (v. 15).

3. If no resolution comes, meet again with one or two more people (v. 16).

4. Confirm the facts in the meeting and work toward a solution (v. 16).

5. If no resolution comes, bring the issue before the church or organization (v. 17).

6. Agree upon the truth and the appropriate options for the offender (v. 17).

7. If no resolution comes, release the offender from the church or organization (v. 17).

Behind this process lies the authority Jesus has given to church leaders (Matt. 18:18–20). We must act wisely, because we have God-given authority (18:18), because God will confirm and support the decisions made in harmony (18:19), and because He is present when we gather in His name (18:20).
18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

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.

You are prepared to walk away from the darkness into the light. Go into this world confident in Christ’s love and God’s eternal presence with you. Go to be a witness for good and a bearer of peace to all you meet. Go in peace! 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, September 6, 2020 — 14th Sunday After Pentecost
Ready to Go
Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 149; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

“Reconciliation in the Community of Faith” (Matthew 18:15-20)

Today, our gospel message comes to us from Matthew 18:15-20, “Reconciliation in the community of faith.”

Jesus said, 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (ESV).

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.

“Reconciliation in the Community of Faith”


For the last several Sundays, we have seen examples of great faith and discuss how such faith applies to our lives today. In the story of Jesus beckoning Peter to walk on water, we learned that great faith involves getting out of the boat. The story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman with the demon-possessed daughter demonstrated the necessity of persistence in a life of faith. Last week we read what Jesus taught his followers concerning discipleship. Jesus calls his disciples to live in faith by denying themselves, taking up their crosses, and following him—even if we do this far from perfect.

The gospel lesson for this Sunday reveals to us another element of living faithfully—the nurture and maintenance of relationships.


It should be of no surprise to us that the God whom we worship is a God of relationships. Humankind was created in God's image. Our likeness to God allows us to be in relationship with God. Even when we broke our relationship with God through sin, God moved to restore that relationship. The gospel of John proclaims that God so loved the world that he gave his only son.…

Our journey is imperfect as we walk with God. We are still sinful beings; at our core, we seek to be lord of our lives and rebel against God. Our sins exhibit our sinfulness against God in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and left undone. The Holy Spirit moves in our lives to convict us of our sin and to move us to change our behavior. The Spirit may speak to us through our conscience, through Scripture, or through a friend's voice.

We frequently confess our sinfulness and our sins either in the privacy of our prayer closet or in our community worship. We seek God's forgiveness that is always freely given, and we avail ourselves of the Spirit's power to turn from our sin and walk along Jesus' path rather than trailblaze our own path through the wilderness of life.

God's movement in our lives is never vengeful or meant to cause us harm. God's purpose is to move in our lives and restore our relationship with him. God created us for a relationship with him, and he realizes that we do not experience either peace or abundant life until we have that relationship with him.


Today's gospel lesson invites us to be mirror images of God in our relationships with others—especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. Of course, this is easier said than done.

When we are offended and hurt, our natural, human response is to avenge ourselves against the one who offended us. We may do this in a variety of ways, of which the most destructive is gossip. Seeking to get sympathy, amass allies, and at the same time cause harm to the individual, we gossip. A follower of St. Francis had a problem with the sin of gossip. As punishment for his gossiping behavior, St. Francis had him lay a feather on every household's doorstep in the town of Assisi. When the man returned to St. Francis and reported that he had accomplished his penance, St. Francis then directed him to pick up all of the feathers. The man objected, "I can't do that," he said, "the feathers have been blown all around town by the wind." St. Francis slowly nodded his head and said, "So it is with gossip, the words you say can never be picked up again."

When offended and when our relationship with another is strained, bruised, or broken, our goal is to heal, restore, and renew that relationship. We are called not to hurt, insist on our own way or the correctness of our position, and not get even. Relationships are too important to suffer the attacks of bruised egos.

The first thing we do when offended or hurt is to communicate with the one who hurt us. We do not confront him and tell him or her that he or she is wrong. Instead, we simply share how we were hurt by what he or she said or did.

Forgiveness is a constant. Whether the individual asks for our forgiveness or remains unrepentant, forgiveness is given. This is not only for the sake of the relationship but also for our own physical, spiritual and emotional health.

We live with the hope and prayer that the relationship will be restored, even if it takes some time for that to happen. Christ's example challenges us, never to close the door on a relationship.


We, at times, downplay the importance of relationships. Assets, prestige, career, and ego are sometimes considered more important. Relationships are broken because of what people have done or said. We severe relationships with people who don't do what we want them to do or don't believe as we do. Relationships, though, are one of the most important parts of our lives. We are social beings who were created for relationships with our creator and with our fellow creatures.

Healthy, vibrant relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ are essential for a bold and loving witness to those around us. Many of us have experienced out the fighting and bickering of congregations have soured those outside the church on the Christian faith and darkened the congregation's witness.

Strong, dynamic relationships are necessary for Christian service. We have to be able to work together if we are to be about Christ's tasks. Hard feelings, bruised egos, and the unwillingness to forgive all hinder our ability to meet others' needs and share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ through our deeds.


We are a people of faith who seek to live out our faith in our daily lives. Faithfulness to Jesus Christ is more than simply knowing the right things and believing certain truths. Faithful living is allowing our faith to motivate and drive our words and actions.

Faithfulness impels us to live in relationship with others as friends rather than enemies, because while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us. Christ died so that we might call God our father, and God might call us his sons and daughters.


Gracious and merciful God, our human family's problems are very grave, and we are no longer isolated from one another. We are confronted daily with our addiction to violence, our hatred, and our greed. We are heartbroken. The media are relentless in their presentation and critique, and we all long for some good news. It is so easy to forget that your Son, Jesus, is always the good news and has given us the remedy for our brokenness. "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they are doing." He spoke so clearly. We ask your Holy Spirit to remind us of this again and again. We ask you for the gift of hope in our lives and know that we need to turn to one another for the confidence and assurance that we will emerge from situations that, in the short term, seem hopeless.  Banish fear and anxiety from our hearts.

Father, affirm us to one another and remove the barriers that seem to sour our relationships and keep us at a distance. Heal the short tempers, the crabbiness and the grudges we hold, against one another, against our political system, against our Church, against our financial institutions. We could go on and on. Prompt us to be beacons in the present darkness, and especially beacons to one another. We are all guilty of some selfishness, many of us have lived beyond our means, and we become angry and irrational and embrace ideologies that protect our acquisitions. We need your help to stop contributing to the larger greed that tears at our world. We believe in your grace's power to change our lives and promise tonight to be once again open to that grace. Bless us with a peaceful spirit and a desire to be reconciled with one another. 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 Kevin Ruffcorn.
Jesus gives his followers rules for the community to live by. They are good rules as we strive to live our Christian lives together in ministry and fellowship.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, September 6, 2020

John 14:23
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Read all of John 14

Listen to John 14

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

♫ "Stand up, stand up for Jesus; Stand in His strength alone. The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own. Put on the Gospel armor; Each piece put on with prayer. Where duty calls or stranger be, never wanting there.

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus; The strife will not be long; This day the din of battle, The next the victor's song. The soldiers, overcoming, Their crown of life shall see, And with the King of Glory, Shall reign eternally." ♫

We like to be self-sufficient. We can take care of ourselves—at least most of the time. But our hymn warns of a conflict in which our own strength is not sufficient. "The arm of flesh will fail you." In our life of faith, we are not struggling against foes of flesh and blood, but "against the spiritual forces of evil" (see Ephesians 6:12). "The devil prowls around like a roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8b), eager to separate us from our Savior. But we are not left without resources in the battle: "Put on the Gospel armor," the hymn says, and do so "with prayer."

God supplies the armor we wear: truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, and the readiness of the Gospel. Our weapon of choice is the Spirit's sword, the Word of God. Armed for the fight, we are able to stand firm (see Ephesians 6:13-17). We, the saints on earth, are sometimes called the "Church Militant," that is, the fighting church. We are still engaged in battle against sin and Satan, and it is not yet time for us to join the saints in glory, the "Church Triumphant." Those saints now enjoy peace in the Lord's presence. Still, that day will come soon enough for us: "This day the din of battle, the next the victor's song."

In the earthly conflicts we experience, the ultimate outcomes are usually unknown to us—political and military struggles or clashes among families, co-workers or friends. In our battle against sin and Satan, the outcome is already decided. The victory has been accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ. By His death on the cross, Jesus destroyed "the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14b). Though still battling on, we have already begun to sing "the victor's song"—those joyful alleluias of Easter morning!—because Jesus has risen from the dead. He has conquered in the fight, and ours is the crown of life that Jesus has won for us.

Some of our nation's armed forces have the word "always" in their mottoes: the Marine Corps, with "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful), the Coast Guard's "Semper Paratus," (Always Ready), and the National Guard's "Always Ready, Always There." As soldiers of Christ, we have "always" in our marching orders as well: "In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15). With our words of witness and loving acts of service, we "stand up for Jesus" as "His strength alone" sustains us, and His love shines through us.

Lord Jesus, help us to stand up for You as faithful witnesses to Your victory over sin, death, and the devil. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus."

Reflection Questions:
1. Where do you usually turn, first, when things get difficult?

2. How can we more consistently stand (operate) in God's strength alone?

3. Do you think you give others an example of trusting and relying on God when things are hard in your life? What might that look like to them?
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
We like to be self-sufficient. We can take care of ourselves—at least most of the time. But our hymn warns of a conflict in which our own strength is not sufficient.

Standing Strong Through the Storm — FORGIVENESS IS NOT AN OPTION

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Our founder, Brother Andrew, says, “Forgiveness is the very core of the gospel message. I am a Christian only because God forgave me for everything. There is no other ground on which to stand…not my repentance, not my praying the sinner’s prayer. Nothing made me a child of God except God forgave. And He did it two thousand years ago through Jesus on the cross. Jesus took all that sin and nailed it to the cross and He says, ‘Now, go, and put it into practice.’”

Poso, Indonesia is a beautiful place on a central island of the country. There we meet an elderly, physically weak, Christian mother who shares through her tears the tragedy that befell her seventeen-year-old daughter Alfita in 2005.

“My daughter Alfita was so beautiful. She loved Jesus, and she loved to sing. She loved spending time with her friends. One day, Alfita and three of her friends were walking to school. They always took a path that went deep into the jungle, far away from our village. Along the path grew beautiful flowers and my daughter loved flowers. That day, she and her friends, Theresia, Yarni, and Noviana stopped to pick flowers for their hair…”

The girls were all from Christian families. Three young Muslim men were waiting on the jungle path and savagely beheaded three of the girls including Alfita. The fourth girl, Noviana, survived her machete wounds.

The three men were tried for murder in the capital, Jakarta. Noviana and the families in question had to make witness statements. However, they first shook the hands of the murderers as a sign of forgiveness. Two years later, the suspects were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

The request for forgiveness came from one of the murderers. “It was very difficult to comply with this request,” said the older brother of Noviana. “But we wanted to keep to Jesus’ teaching and because of this, we are able to forgive. We hope that our step will also restore the peace in our town of Poso in Central Sulawesi.”

The family members prefer not to talk about the day itself. During the hearing, Noviana again had to see pictures of her beheaded friends and answer questions by the prosecutors and lawyers.

Alfita’s mother was severely traumatized by the murder of her daughter. She concludes, “All I could do was ask God for His peace, the peace that cannot be explained, that comes from trusting in Him. At the funeral He gave me that peace. Even though Alfita was brutally killed, I knew that she was safe in God’s arms in heaven…After that, when I knew God’s comfort in my heart, I was finally able to do as God commanded…so I let go of my right for revenge. I’m not bitter. I’ve forgiven the murderers and asked God to forgive them. I’ve prayed that they will realize what they’ve done.”

RESPONSE: Today I will confront my own trials and forgive those against whom I am holding anything.

PRAYER: Pray for complete healing of the trauma in the lives of these four families in Indonesia.

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

John Piper Devotional — Present and Powerful Love
Present and Powerful Love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Notice three things in Romans 8:35.

1. Christ is loving us now.

A wife might say of her deceased husband: Nothing will separate me from his love. She might mean that the memory of his love will be sweet and powerful all her life. But that is not what Paul means here.

In Romans 8:34 it says plainly, “Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” The reason Paul can say that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ is because Christ is alive and is still loving us now.

He is at the right hand of God and is therefore ruling for us. And he is interceding for us, which means he is seeing to it that his finished work of redemption does in fact save us hour by hour and bring us safe to eternal joy. His love is not a memory. It is a moment-by-moment action by the omnipotent, living Son of God, to bring us to everlasting joy.

2. This love of Christ is effective in protecting us from separation, and therefore is not a universal love for all, but a particular love for his people — those who, according to Romans 8:28, love God and are called according to his purpose.

This is the love of Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” It is Christ’s love for the church, his bride. Christ has a love for all, and he has a special, saving, preserving love for his bride. You know you are part of that bride if you trust Christ. Anyone — no exceptions — anyone who trusts Christ can say, I am part of his bride, his church, his called and chosen ones, the ones who verse 35 says are kept and protected forever no matter what.

3. This omnipotent, effective, protecting love does not spare us from calamities in this life, but brings us safe to everlasting joy with God.

Death will happen to us, but it will not separate us. So when Paul says in verse 35 that the “sword” will not separate us from the love of Christ, he means: even if we are killed we are not separated from the love of Christ.

So the sum of the matter in verse 35 is this: Jesus Christ is mightily loving his people with omnipotent, moment-by-moment love that does not always rescue us from calamity but preserves us for everlasting joy in his presence even through suffering and death.
Death will happen to us, but it will not separate us.

Un dia a la Vez — Oración por buenas decisiones
Oración por buenas decisiones

El que va por buen camino teme al Señor; el que va por mal camino lo desprecia.

Señor, te queremos dar muchas gracias por tu Palabra. Gracias por dejar entre nosotros ese Manual de Instrucciones que está lleno de recomendaciones y de consejos para que se apliquen a la vida de cada uno de tus hijos.

En estos días reflexionamos acerca de la sabiduría y la necedad y vimos que las dos pueden afectar nuestra vida para bien o para mal.

Por eso, hoy queremos decirte que necesitamos tu ayuda. Queremos que nos bendigas con una nueva porción de sabiduría, de modo que seamos capaces de hacer tu voluntad y andar como es debido en tus caminos todos los días de nuestra vida.

También te pedimos, mi Dios, que nos ayudes a ser equilibrados y no llegar a los extremos del legalismo ni del libertinaje. Sabemos que los extremos son malos.

Gracias por este nuevo día. Lo dejamos en tus manos y confiamos plenamente en ti.

En el nombre de Jesús oramos, amén y amén.

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

Unser Täglich Brot — Wieder versagt

Wieder versagt

Lesung: Galater 3,1-6 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Psalmen 148-150; 1. Korinther 15,29-58

Ihr habt begonnen, ein Leben mit dem Heiligen Geist zu führen. Warum wollt ihr jetzt auf einmal versuchen, es aus eigener Kraft zu vollenden?

Damals, als ich regelmäßig predigte, fühlte ich mich an manchen Sonntagen wie ein kleiner Wurm. In der Woche zuvor war ich nicht der beste Ehemann, Vater oder Freund gewesen. Ich dachte, ich müsste erst einmal eine Erfolgsgeschichte des guten Lebens hinlegen, ehe Gott mich wieder gebrauchen könnte. Also gelobte ich, die Predigt so gut wie möglich durchzustehen und zu versuchen, in der kommenden Woche besser zu leben.

Das war nicht der richtige Ansatz. In Galater 3 wird gesagt, dass Gott uns ständig mit seinem Geist versorgt und kraftvoll durch uns als freie Gabe wirkt – nicht, weil wir etwas getan haben oder es verdienen.

Abrahams Leben zeigt dies. Manchmal hat er als Ehemann versagt. Zum Beispiel brachte er zweimal das Leben von Sara in Gefahr, indem er log, um seine eigene Haut zu retten (1. Mose 12,10-20; 20,1-18). Dennoch wurde ihm sein Glaube „als Gerechtigkeit angerechnet“ (Galater 3,6). Abraham legte sein Leben trotz seines Versagens in die Gottes Hände, und Gott benutzte ihn, um der Welt durch seine Familie die Rettung zu bringen.

Es gibt keine Rechtfertigung für schlechtes Benehmen. Jesus hat uns gebeten, ihm im Gehorsam zu folgen, und er stellt uns die Mittel zur Verfügung, um dies zu tun. Ein hartes, unbußfertiges Herz wird immer seine Absichten für uns behindern, aber seine Fähigkeit, uns zu gebrauchen, hängt nicht von einem langen Muster guten Verhaltens ab. Sie basiert einzig und allein auf Gottes Bereitschaft, durch uns so zu wirken, wie wir sind: gerettet und wachsend aus Gnade. Du musst nicht für seine Gnade arbeiten – sie ist kostenlos.
Denke an all die Situationen, in denen du versagt hast. Wie sieht Gott diese Situationen? Wie siehst du sie?
Ich bin dankbar, Herr, dass du mich segnest und mich trotz meines Versagens gebrauchst. Deine Gnade ist wunderbar!

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Fühlte ich mich an manchen Sonntagen wie ein kleiner Wurm.