Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, September 27, 2020 — 17th Sunday After Pentecost

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, September 27, 2020 — 17th Sunday After Pentecost

In the Name of Jesus…
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13;
Matthew 21:23-32
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Opening Sentences
What does being a servant look like? Philippians describes Jesus' servanthood as one of humility and obedience to God. In Matthew, John's servanthood comes from faithfully preparing the way. The servanthood of the two sons is judged, not by what they said they would do, but by what they did in the end.

Opening Prayer
Gracious Lord, how shall we do your will today? Will it be in acts of praise, in gifts shared, in prayers lifted? Who will you lead us to serve? Help us trust you. Help us listen. Bless this community as we come together in worship. Encourage us, comfort us, unite us, make our joy complete. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
God of patience, your people grow weary. We complain and question. We put you to the test. Our mouths say yes, but our deeds say no. When we wander off your path, when we fail to follow through on our good intentions, when we give our attention to trivial things; gently call us back to you. Empty our hearts of anger and pride. Empty our souls of greed and selfishness. Empty our minds of envy, doubt, and mistrust. As you poured out your very self through your beloved Son, pour your Spirit into our hearts today. Forgive us our wrongdoing. Reclaim us with your love.

Assurance of Pardon
Friends in Christ, our God is patient, steadfast, and understanding. Christ hears our cries of repentance. The Lord knows our hearts, inside and out. The One who created us promises to care for us, even when we turn away. Hear these words of forgiveness. Be strengthened to walk as disciples. Trust in God's mercy. Amen.

First Reading
Water from the rock
17:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.

2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?

3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?

4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.

6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?
The children of Israel journeyed according to the commandment of the Lord, led by the pillar of cloud and fire, yet they came to a place where there was no water for them to drink. We may be in the way of duty, yet may meet with troubles, which Providence brings us into, for the trial of our faith, and that God may be glorified in our relief. They began to question whether God was with them or not. This is called their “tempting God,” which signifies distrust of him after they had received such proofs of his power and goodness. Moses mildly answered them. It is folly to answer passion with passion; that makes bad worse. God graciously appeared to help them. How wonderful the patience and forbearance of God toward provoking sinners! That he might show his power as well as his pity, and make it a miracle of mercy, he gave them water out of a rock. God can open fountains for us where we least expect them. Those who, in this wilderness, keep to God's way, may trust him to provide for them. Also, let this direct us to depend on Christ's grace. The apostle says, that Rock was Christ, 1 Corinthians 10:4, it was a type of him. While the curse of God might justly have been executed upon our guilty souls, behold the Son of God is smitten for us. Let us ask and receive. There was a constant, abundant supply of this water. Numerous as believers are, the supply of the Spirit of Christ is enough for all. The water flowed from the rock in streams to refresh the wilderness, and attended them on their way towards Canaan; and this water flows from Christ, through the ordinances, in the barren wilderness of this world, to refresh our souls, until we come to glory. A new name was given to the place, in remembrance, not of the mercy of their supply, but of the sin of their murmuring: “Massah,” Temptation, because they tempted God; “Meribah,” Strife, because they chid with Moses. Sin leaves a blot upon the name.

Recounting God’s power
1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.

14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.

15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.

16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
These are called dark and deep sayings because they are carefully to be looked into. The law of God was given with a particular charge to teach it diligently to their children, that the church may abide forever. Also, that the providences of God, both in mercy and in judgment, might encourage them to conform to the will of God. The works of God much strengthen our resolution to keep his commandments. Hypocrisy is the high road to apostasy; those that do not set their hearts right, will not be steadfast with God. Many parents, by negligence and wickedness, become murderers of their children. But young persons, though they are bound to submit in all things lawful, must not obey sinful orders, or copy sinful examples.

Second Reading
Christ humbled to the point of death
2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Here are further exhortations to Christian duties; to like-mindedness and lowly-mindedness, according to the example of the Lord Jesus. Kindness is the law of Christ's kingdom, the lesson of his school, the livery of his family. Several motives to brotherly love are mentioned. If you expect or experience the benefit of God's compassions to yourselves, be compassionate one to another. It is the joy of ministers to see people like-minded. Christ came to humble us, let there not be among us a spirit of pride. We must be severe upon our own faults, and quick in observing our own defects, but ready to make favorable allowances for others. We must kindly care for others, but not be busy-bodies in other men's matters. Neither inward nor outward peace can be enjoyed, without lowliness of mind.

The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, John 1:1, had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ's two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendor. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn. The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is His will, that all men should honor the Son as they honor the Father, John 5:23. Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God?

We must be diligent in the use of all the means which lead to our salvation, persevering therein to the end. With great care, lest, with all our advantages, we should come short. Work out your salvation, for it is God who worketh in you. This encourages us to do our utmost because our labor shall not be in vain: we must still depend on the grace of God.

The Gospel
A parable of doing God’s will

21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.

25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chief priests and scribes were much offended, especially because he exposed and removed the abuses they encouraged. Our Lord asked what they thought of John's ministry and baptism. Many are more afraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and therefore scruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their own thoughts, affections, and intentions, or their remembering and forgetting. Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry. It is best to shun needless disputes with wicked opposers.

Parables that give reproof, speak plainly to the offenders and judge them out of their own mouths. The parable of the two sons sent to work in the vineyard is to show that those who knew not John's baptism to be of God, were shamed by those who knew it and owned it. The whole human race is like children whom the Lord has brought up, but they have rebelled against him, only some are more plausible in their disobedience than others. And it often happens, that the daring rebel is brought to repentance and becomes the Lord's servant, while the formalist grows hardened in pride and enmity.

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.

Go bravely and boldly into this world of confusion and pain. Bring God’s healing words of love and forgiveness. Know the power of mercy and grace in your life, and use those wonderful gifts to serve God by serving the people. Go in peace. Amen.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentary from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

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.
What does being a servant look like? Philippians describes Jesus' servanthood as one of humility and obedience to God. In Matthew, John's servanthood comes from faithfully preparing the way. The servanthood of the two sons is judged, not by what they said they would do, but by what they did in the end.
Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

“Doing the Father's Will” (Matthew 21:23-32)

Today, our gospel message comes to us from Matthew 21:23-32, “A parable of doing God’s will.”

23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. 28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. (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.

“Gods Will vs. My Will”

I want your opinion. I called a couple of contractors to do some work on my house. The first contractor I talked to was very rude. He said he had no time for me and hung up while still holding the phone to my ear. You can imagine my surprise then when later that afternoon, this same contractor showed up at my door and spent an hour inspecting my house before giving me an estimate for what it would cost to do the work. However, before he arrived, I had called another contractor and asked him to provide me with an estimate. This contractor was very cheerful and promised to come out that afternoon. Well, that was three days ago, and he still hasn’t come. What should I do? Which contractor should I use to do do the work on my house? Should I go with the one who was rude but still took the time to give me an estimate, or should I wait for the cheerful contractor to show up?

In our sermon text today, Jesus told a parable about two brothers who were very much like the two mechanics in my made-up story. Both boys were told by their father to work in the vineyard. One said, “No way!” while the other said, “Yes sir!” Both ended up doing the opposite of what they said they would do. Through this parable, Jesus urges us to do our heavenly Father’s will—not with empty words (like the second son), but with repentant actions (like the first son).

Jesus spoke this parable to people who were confident they were bound for heaven. Unfortunately, their confidence was not rooted in God’s promises but based on how good they thought they were. The Chief Priests and Elders to whom Jesus spoke felt they were so holy that when John the Baptist called them to repent of their sins and be baptized, they ignored him. While they ignored John’s call to repent, tax collectors, and prostitutes, many considered to be beyond saving, confessed their sins, and were baptized.

Can you guess which group of people represented the son who at first said “no” in the parable but then did what his father wanted? Sure, the tax collectors and prostitutes were that son. At first, they had said “no” to God with their life-style choices but later said “yes” when they repented of their sins and were baptized. While repentant actions characterized their lives, the Chief Priests and Elders’ lives were characterized by empty words. At first, they were the son who said “yes” to working in the vineyard but then never went. They had said “yes” to God by taking on leadership positions in the religious community, promising to teach God’s Word and live by it, but they didn’t follow through with these things. Their promises had been nothing more than empty words, and therefore they were not doing the Father’s will.

Which son are we? Is our life one of empty words or repentant actions? Are we like the sixth-grader who was so nervous for her science test that she said “no” to God when she sketched a cheat-sheet on her palm’s palm but then in repentance said “yes” when she wiped her hand clean before the test? Or are we like the confirmand who said “yes” to God when he promises to be faithful in hearing God’s Word, using the Sacrament, and serving in the church but then says “no” when hockey practice and a part-time job get in the way of regular church attendance? The truth is we are like both sons. We have all said “no” to God and then later repented and did what God wanted us to do. We’ve also sinned by saying “yes” to the Lord when we promise here to reflect God’s holiness, but then seconds after worship is over, we bicker and fight in the car on the way home, showing God we really meant “no.”

Is one attitude worse than the other? It is. Empty words are worse because they delude us into thinking we are God-fearing people when we’re not. The Apostle James said that if we don’t live God’s Word, then all our pious words are meaningless, and our faith is dead (James 2:17). That’s a scary thought isn’t it? It makes me wonder if I will make it to heaven because I’ve claimed to be a loving, patient, and kind child of God. Still, when I’m rushing to work on a typical weekday morning, I show myself to be anything but loving, patient, and kind—especially to my own family! I have said “yes” to God while demonstrating I really mean “no.” I am no better than the Chief Priests who said “yes” with their show of piety but then showed they meant “no” when they had Jesus crucified.

If God’s law has convicted you as I have, take heart. Jesus did not tell this parable to shame us. He told this parable to direct us…to him—the perfect Son. You see, Jesus was the third son, not mentioned in the parable. When his heavenly Father said: “Son, I have a tough chore for you. I want you to save sinful people. You’ll need you to go work on earth. You’ll need to take on flesh and blood, spending nine months in a woman’s womb and then be born in a barn. You’ll need to live with these sinful people—healing and teaching them. In return, you’ll be mocked, beaten with whips, and finally crucified. Will you do it?” God’s Son, of course, said: “Yes. I will do everything you ask of me.” There was no arguing, no complaining, only complete submission. And Jesus didn’t just say “yes” he lived his “yes” in perfect obedience, never veering from the mission. And because Jesus has completed his mission of saving sinners, whenever we say “no” to God, he hears “yes” because he hears his Son’s voice over ours (like dubbed movie dialogue). And whenever we say “yes” only to show we really mean “no” by our inaction, the Father sees his Son’s perfect life in place of ours. In Jesus, we have complete forgiveness.

Of course, those who know and believe they have been forgiven will reflect their thankfulness for that forgiveness in the way they live. We will no longer say “no” when God tells us to work in his vineyard, whether serving him in the church or reflecting his love at home and school. Nor will we say “yes” and then make excuses as to why we didn’t follow through with the Lord’s work. As brothers and sisters of Jesus, we will say “yes” and we will show “yes.” To strive for anything less would be to say that we don’t care what Jesus has done for us and that we don’t want to be part of God’s family. May that never be said of us. Instead, may it be said that we do the Father’s will—not with empty words, but with repentant actions motivated by Jesus’ “yes” for us.

Dear God, I have to do your will for me to have complete joy in my life. Through all the challenges and difficulties that I face, I pray that I do not separate me with your word. I know that when your word is in me, you are there for me. Please give me strength and power to overcome all the trials that I am facing. In the name of Jesus Christ, I know that all things are possible, and everything that I ask in His name is being done for me. Let your Holy Spirit take control of everything I do and continue to give me wisdom and knowledge to preach the good news to the lost. Set me free from all evil desires and create in me a pure heart. I know that I will continue to face a lot in life. Still, I am not afraid because your word says” all things worketh together for the good to those who love God and those who are called according to his purpose” I want to be like King David when He said. “However, I walk through the shadow of death I will fear no evil” in Jesus name, I declare to overcome evil with good. Let your will be done in my life in Jesus’ name, 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 Daniel Habben.
Doing the Father’s Will, not with empty words, but with repentant actions.

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, September 27, 2020

Prayer of the Day
SUNDAY, September 27, 2020

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.
Psalm 138:1–2 (NIV)

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for your mercy and for your great goodness and power, revealed to us through the ages and in the present time. We live by your revelation, Lord God Almighty, for you perform wonders on earth and you reign in heaven so that heaven can bless and help us on our earthly pilgrimage. Grant that your loving-kindness and your justice may be revealed through all the world. Come, O Lord our God, bring the light for us who believe in you, and be the light for the whole world. Glory to your name, for you are indeed our Father in heaven and on earth, and you give certainty for our life in time and in eternity. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, September 27, 2020

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Read all of Matthew 6

Listen to Matthew 6

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

♫ "He lives to bless me with His love; He lives to plead for me above; He lives my hungry soul to feed; He lives to help in time of need.

"He lives, my kind, wise, heav'nly Friend; He lives and loves me to the end; He lives, and while He lives, I'll sing; He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King." ♫

There are many ways to describe and proclaim what our living Redeemer has done for us. He is the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. He is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life to save His sheep. Another way to speak of our Savior's work is to recognize and worship Him as our Prophet, our Priest, and our King.

The Old Testament prophets revealed the Word and will of God for His people and foretold the days when God would fulfill His covenant promises. Moses spoke of a prophet still to come: "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen" (Deuteronomy 18:15). Jesus is that promised Prophet. He is the Word made flesh and the Wisdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 1:30), who reveals to us His Father's will. Jesus said, "This is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40). Jesus is our Prophet, our "kind, wise heavenly Friend."

Jesus is much more than just another prophet. He is our Prophet and our Priest. As our great High Priest, Jesus offered up Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He entered into heaven, "not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12b). As our High Priest, Jesus "lives to plead" for us above. He intercedes for us before the Father, always holding us up in prayer before the throne of grace. As our High Priest, Jesus lives our hungry souls to feed, inviting us to His Holy Supper, nourishing our faith with His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

Our Savior is also our King. After offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, Jesus was raised from the dead and exalted in glory to the Father's right hand. To Jesus has been given "all authority in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18b). In a world that is so unstable, subject to disaster and constantly shifting in its claims and alliances, we have this unchanging hope—our King reigns. "He lives to help in time of need." Jesus our King rules now and lives to bless us with His love. He lives and loves us to the end, when He will return in glory as King of kings and Lord of lords. Until then, we live to serve others in His Name and to honor Him with our praise: "He lives and while He lives, I'll sing; He lives my Prophet, Priest and King!"

Lord Jesus, our Prophet, Priest, and King, lead us to live as Your servants, reflecting Your love to others so that they too may be brought by faith into Your kingdom. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."

Reflection Questions:
1. What's the last really big promise someone has made to you?

2. What did Jesus do as our High Priest that no other priest could do?

3. When you share Jesus with others, do you mention His priestly function on our behalf? (To better understand this role of Jesus, read Hebrews 5-10.)
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
There are many ways to describe and proclaim what our living Redeemer has done for us.

Standing Strong Through the Storm — NORTH KOREA TESTIMONY

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

After Gyeong Ju Son, a young woman from North Korea, gave her moving testimony at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town in October 2010, the 4200 participants from over 190 countries, came away stunned—many moved to tears.

Born in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, this petite 18-year-old is the daughter of a former high-ranking government leader—an assistant of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il.

In 1998, when Gyeong Ju was at the tender age of six, her father suffered severe political persecution and the family was forced to flee to China. It was there that her parents came to know the amazing grace and love of God. After only a few months, her mother, pregnant with their second child, died of leukemia.

“It was in the midst of this family tragedy that my father joined a Bible study led by missionaries from South Korea and America, and after a time his strong desire was to become a missionary to North Korea,” she says.

In 2001 her father was reported and arrested by the Chinese police, to be sent back to North Korea, where he was sentenced to prison. Desperately crying out to God during this time, his three-year incarceration only served to strengthen his faith. After his release, he returned to China, and Gyeong Ju Son was reunited briefly with her father.

“Not long after he chose to return to North Korea—instead of enjoying a life of religious freedom in South Korea—to share Christ’s message of life and hope among the hopeless people of his homeland.”

In 2006 her father’s work was discovered by the North Korean government and once again he was imprisoned. Not having heard from her father again, she assumes he has been publicly executed on charges of treason and espionage. This is often the fate of confessing Christians in North Korea.

Left in China, Gyeong Ju Son was adopted for a while by the family of a young pastor, and it was their love, care, compassion, and protection that made a deep impression on her. When they left for America she was given the opportunity to go to South Korea.

RESPONSE: Today I give thanks for brothers and sisters who serve Jesus at the cost of their own lives.

PRAYER: Pray today for those believers still living in North Korea and committed to evangelism.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
After Gyeong Ju Son, a young woman from North Korea, gave her moving testimony at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town in October 2010, the 4200 participants from over 190 countries, came away stunned—many moved to tears.

John Piper Devotional — The Power of a Superior Promise
The Power of a Superior Promise

I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts.

An essential element of joy is freedom. None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love.

And where do we find true freedom? Psalm 119:45 says, “I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts.”

The picture is one of open spaces. The Word frees us from smallness of mind (1 Kings 4:29) and from threatening confinements (Psalm 18:19).

Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The freedom he has in mind is freedom from the slavery of sin (verse 34). Or, to put it positively, it is freedom for holiness.

The promises of God’s grace provide the power that makes the demands of God’s holiness an experience of freedom rather than fear. Peter described the freeing power of God’s promises like this: “Through [his precious and very great promises] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4).

In other words, when we trust the promises of God, we sever the root of corruption by the power of a superior promise.

How crucial is the Word that breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures! And how vigilant we should be to light our paths and load our hearts with the Word of God!

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (verse 11; cf. verse 9).
None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love.

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

Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece.

Señor Jesús, te doy gracias por este nuevo día. Quiero agradecerte también que he podido comprender que tienes tu mirada puesta en mí y que me ves como un ser de bendición.

Gracias por perdonar mis pecados y por olvidar mis faltas.

Ayúdame, oh Dios, a estar firme en ti y a ver las cosas de otra manera.

Necesito que me ayudes a restablecer mi autoestima y verme como me ves tú.

No permitas que nada ni nadie me robe la tranquilidad, la paz y el gozo.

Afirma mi vida, Jesús, en ti. Quiero agradarte y ser canal de bendición para otros.

Señor, fortalece mi vida, mi corazón, mi alma y todo mi ser.

En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

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

Unser Täglich Brot — Auf Abwege geraten

Auf Abwege geraten

Lesung: Lukas 15,1-7 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Jesaja 3-4; Galater 6

Freut euch mit mir; denn ich habe mein Schaf gefunden.
Lukas 15,6 (SCHL)

Der Humorist Michael Yaconelli, der in der Nähe von Bauernhöfen lebte, bemerkte, wie die Kühe beim Grasen zu Wanderungen neigen. Eine Kuh bewegte sich immer weiter, immer auf der Suche nach den sagenumwobenen „grüneren Weiden“. Am Rande des Grundstücks entdeckte die Kuh vielleicht kühles, frisches Gras unter einem schattenspendenden Baum. Gleich hinter einem kaputten Teil des Zaunes war ein schmackhafter Klumpen Laub. Dann wiederum könnte die Kuh weit über den Zaun hinaus auf die Straße drängen. Langsam knabberte sie sich den Weg frei, bis sie sich verirrte.

Nicht nur Kühe haben ein Problem mit ihrem Umherwandern. Auch Schafe wandern, und es ist wahrscheinlich, dass die Menschen die größte Neigung von allen haben, umherzuwandern.

Vielleicht ist das einer der Gründe, warum Gott uns in der Bibel mit Schafen vergleicht. Es kann leicht sein, sich durch leichtsinnige Kompromisse und törichte Entscheidungen zu schlängeln und zu „knabbern“, ohne zu merken, wie weit wir uns von der Wahrheit entfernt haben.

Jesus erzählte den Pharisäern die Geschichte von einem verlorenen Schaf. Das Schaf war für den Hirten so wertvoll, dass er seine anderen Schafe zurückließ, während er nach dem wandernden Schaf suchte. Und als er das verirrte Schaf fand, feierte er! (Lukas 15,1-7).

So freut sich Gott über diejenigen, die zu ihm zurückkehren. Jesus sagte: „Freut euch mit mir; denn ich habe mein Schaf gefunden“ (V. 6). Gott hat uns einen Retter gesandt, der uns rettet und uns nach Hause bringt.
Wo bist du vielleicht in die falsche Richtung abgewandert? Wie sieht der erste Schritt aus, den du gehen musst, um wieder nach Hause zu kommen, wo du hingehörst?
Himmlischer Vater, ich fühle mich verloren. Bin ich zu weit gewandert? Zeige du mir den Weg nach Hause.

© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Der Humorist Michael Yaconelli, der in der Nähe von Bauernhöfen lebte, bemerkte, wie die Kühe beim Grasen zu Wanderungen neigen. Eine Kuh bewegte sich immer weiter, immer auf der Suche nach den sagenumwobenen „grüneren Weiden“.