Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, October 4, 2020 — 18th Sunday After Pentecost

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, October 4, 2020 — 18th Sunday After Pentecost

Jesus Sets the Table for the World
World Communion Sunday
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14;
Matthew 21:33-46
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Opening Sentences
Today, congregations around the globe celebrate World Communion Sunday. Most of us have heard about World Communion Sunday but may not know much about where the celebration originated. According to the website of the National Council of Churches, World Communion Sunday began in 1936 in the Presbyterian Church and was adopted by the Federal Council of Churches (predecessor of the NCC) in 1940. Since then, the celebration has grown into an international ecumenical celebration of Christian unity.

The key word for World Communion Sunday is communion, or unity. It is a day when we mark the almost universal Christian practice of breaking bread with one another and remembering both the night of Jesus’ betrayal—when Jesus instituted what we now call the Lord’s Supper as a lasting remembrance—and of Jesus’ sacrifice. So accounts of the last supper feature prominently, by virtue of World Communion Sunday being a celebration of the Eucharist. But there is a flavor of the Christian celebration of Pentecost as well, when people from around the Mediterranean world came together in mutual understanding and inspiration, by the power of the Holy Spirit. World Communion Sunday is a time for remembering that around the globe—in different languages, with different traditions and customs, and in various forms of liturgy—the Lord’s Supper is celebrated throughout Christendom. At its best, therefore, World Communion Sunday serves two purposes: it is both a joyous and meaningful partaking in Jesus’ sacred meal with his friends and a mind-opening exposure to different Christian traditions from around the world.

Opening Prayer
Eternal God, whose signature we see, if we dare to look, in the creation of the universe, help us this hour to look and to listen for Your handwriting and Your voice in this place, among these people. Connect our temporary praise to Your timeless rhythms, Your ageless melodies, Your everlasting joyful noise. Guide us now to focus upon You, knowing that in You, our distractions become new possibilities for action. Breathe life into our singing, our praying, our speaking, our listening, our touching, that all these activities might become more than they are. In our worship we reach out to You, O God, knowing that You have already enfolded us in Your arms. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Saints, it is time to ‘fess up. As good as we have tried to be, all of us have messed up this week and need God’s forgiveness once again. Commandments have been broken right and left. We’ve lied. We’ve allowed jobs, money and people to exist as gods in place of God. The list could go on. Together, let us confess our sins before our loving God.

God, we confess that although we knew better, we have sinned. We have not loved you or our neighbors the way we should. We have not always honored you with our time. We’ve coveted other people’s stuff. And sometimes we have called you out of your name. Lord, forgive us. We apologize for the pain we’ve caused you. Forgive us of our sins and help us to live in ways that give you joy—in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
Brothers and sisters, there is good news today! God is faithful and just and has forgiven each of us for all of our mess. The things you were embarrassed about – God has forgiven you. The thing no one else knows about – God has forgiven it! You have been given the graceful gift of another chance. Hallelujah! In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Thank you God! Amen.

First Reading
The commandments at Sinai
20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
God speaks many ways to the children of men; by conscience, by providences, by his voice, to all which we ought carefully to attend; but he never spake at any time so as he spake the TEN COMMANDMENTS. This law God had given to man before; it was written in his heart; but sin so defaced it, that it was necessary to revive the knowledge of it. The law is spiritual, and takes knowledge of the secret thoughts, desires, and dispositions of the heart. Its grand demand is love, without which outward obedience is mere hypocrisy. It requires perfect, unfailing, constant obedience; no law in the world admits disobedience to itself. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, James 2:10. Whether in the heart or the conduct, in thought, word, or deed, to omit or to vary any thing, is sin, and the wages of sin is death.

This law, which is so extensive that we cannot measure it, so spiritual that we cannot evade it, and so reasonable that we cannot find fault with it, will be the rule of the future judgment of God, as it is for the present conduct of man. If tried by this rule, we shall find our lives have been passed in transgressions. And with this holy law and an awful judgment before us, who can despise the gospel of Christ? And the knowledge of the law shows our need of repentance. In every believer's heart sin is dethroned and crucified, the law of God is written, and the image of God renewed. The Holy Spirit enables him to hate sin and flee from it, to love and keep this law in sincerity and truth; nor will he cease to repent.

The law rejoices the heart
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
The wonder and glory of creation, and the perfection and power of God’s Word. The God of nature is made known to humanity through His written Word. These thoughts about God’s Word are greatly expanded in Psalm 119. The closing prayer (Psalm 19:13–14) is one of the best prayers in the whole Bible. God’s Word is perfect, sure, true; it gives joy and is sweeter than honey (Halley's Bible Handbook Notes).

Second Reading
Nothing surpasses knowing Christ
3:4b If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
If the apostle would have gloried and trusted in the flesh, he had as much cause as any man. But the things which he counted gain while a Pharisee, and had reckoned up, those he counted loss for Christ. The apostle did not persuade them to do anything but what he himself did; or to venture on anything but that on which he himself ventured his never-dying soul. He deemed all these things to be but loss, compared with the knowledge of Christ, by faith in his person and salvation. He speaks of all worldly enjoyments and outward privileges which sought a place with Christ in his heart, or could pretend to any merit and desert, and counted them but loss; but it might be said, It is easy to say so; but what would he do when he came to the trial? He had suffered the loss of all for the privileges of a Christian. Nay, he not only counted them loss, but the vilest refuse, offals thrown to dogs; not only less valuable than Christ but in the highest degree contemptible, when set up as against him. True knowledge of Christ alters and changes men, their judgments and manners, and makes them as if made again anew. The believer prefers Christ, knowing that it is better for us to be without all worldly riches, than without Christ and his word. Let us see what the apostle resolved to cleave to, and that was Christ and heaven. We are undone, without righteousness wherein to appear before God, for we are guilty. There is a righteousness provided for us in Jesus Christ, and it is a complete and perfect righteousness. None can have benefited from it, who trust in themselves. Faith is the appointed means of applying the saving benefit. It is by faith in Christ's blood. We are made conformable to Christ's death, when we die to sin, as he died for sin; and the world is crucified to us, and we to the world, by the cross of Christ. The apostle was willing to do or to suffer anything, to attain the glorious resurrection of saints. This hope and prospect carried him through all difficulties in his work. He did not hope to attain it through his own merit and righteousness but through the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ.

This simple dependence and earnestness of soul were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or were already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot the things which were behind, so as not to be content with past labors or present measures of grace. He reached forth, stretched himself forward towards his point; expressions showing great concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He who runs a race must never stop short of the end, but press forward as fast as he can; so those who have heaven in their view, must still press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and constant endeavors.

The Gospel
The parable of the vineyard owner’s son

21:33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of the Jewish nation; and what is spoken to convict them, is spoken to caution all that enjoy the privileges of the outward church. As men treat God's people, they would treat Christ himself, if he were with them. How can we, if faithful to his cause, expect a favorable reception from a wicked world, or from ungodly professors of Christianity! And let us ask ourselves, whether we who have the vineyard and all its advantages, render fruits in due season, as a people, as a family, or as separate persons. Our Saviour, in his question, declares that the Lord of the vineyard will come, and when he comes he will surely destroy the wicked. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, and they would not admit his doctrine or laws; they threw him aside as a despised stone. But he who was rejected by the Jews was embraced by the Gentiles. Christ knows who will bring forth gospel fruits in the use of gospel means. The unbelief of sinners will be their ruin. But God has many ways of restraining the remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaks out redound to his praise. May Christ become more and more precious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone of his church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised and hated for his sake.

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.

Creator God, may Your Spirit open our eyes anew to the vastness and splendor of Your beauty all around us. May we hear, and smell, and see, and touch Your glory evident in all of Your creation. Above all, let us see Your beauty even in the brokenness of our brothers and sisters—all of them, created in Your image, and waiting to experience that redemption that comes only through Christ Jesus our Lord. We go now to love and serve our Lord. Amen.

Do This In Remembrance of Me

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.
Today, congregations around the globe celebrate World Communion Sunday. Most of us have heard about World Communion Sunday but may not know much about where the celebration originated. According to the website of the National Council of Churches, World Communion Sunday began in 1936 in the Presbyterian Church and was adopted by the Federal Council of Churches (predecessor of the NCC) in 1940. Since then, the celebration has grown into an international ecumenical celebration of Christian unity.
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

“God Is The Landowner; We Are But His Servants” (Matthew 21:33-46) The Sermon for SUNDAY, October 4, 2020

Today, our gospel message comes to us from Matthew 21:33-46, “The parable of the vineyard owner’s son.”

33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet. (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.

“God Is The Landowner;
We Are But His Servants”

Many of the commentaries that I read on our Gospel lesson for this morning seem to indicate that the early church viewed this parable that Jesus told just before his death as an indictment against the Jews of Jesus’ day. As the text itself points out, the chief priests and the Pharisees, who first heard Jesus tell this story, perceived that he had told it as a means of condemning them. They even wanted to arrest Jesus, but for fear of the crowds, who regarded Jesus as a prophet, they refrained from doing so.

However, I am not so convinced that this parable of Jesus can be so easily interpreted to refer specifically to the priests and Pharisees’ rejection of Jesus’ ministry. Oh, I’m sure that the early church, especially as it came to embrace Paul’s teachings, and as faith in Christ spread to the Gentiles, understood it to mean that the kingdom of God was no longer limited to the house of Israel. But I believe that the message of this parable is still relevant for the church of today.

So let’s look at the story. A landowner invested a lot of time, energy, and money to build a business, in this case, a vineyard. He purchased and planted the vines. He built a fence around his property to protect the growth of the plants from animals and scavengers. He constructed a winepress to process the grapes, and no doubt, a building to house the casks to hold the precious juice while it fermented. He even built a watchtower, which served to protect the vineyard from thieves and accommodate those who cared for his business.

Then he leased his business to others to manage it for him. And when the time came for the owner to receive his dividends for his investment, he sent his servants to collect them. But because of the greed of the managers of his vineyard, they refused to give the owner his just return on his investment. They seized the owner’s servants by the neck, beat them, even killing one.

Again, the owner sent other servants to collect his dividends, more than the first time. And again, the managers of his vineyard refused to give the owner his just return and treated the owner’s servants the same way they did the first year.

Now we come to the part of the story that defies common logic. In the third year, the vineyard owner decides to send his own son to collect his dividends, thinking that the managers of his vineyard would respect him. But no! The managers of the vineyard contrived among themselves, saying, “This is the heir to our business, let us kill him, and we will gain his inheritance.” The managers of the vineyard wanted to take over the business as their own. And they killed the owner’s son.

Of course, as I have retold this story, you may have seen a little similarity to some of the corporate CEO’s, who in this time of economic crisis, have run the companies in which they have been entrusted to manage, into bankruptcy, thinking that the real assets of the business belonged to them. The truth is, there is some similarity in this parable of Jesus to the corporate greed of many of the executives that manage the companies that are owned by investors. And I hope that that changes. But at this point, I am not too optimistic. Greed is a pervasive sin in all of us.

However, the true point of this parable goes much deeper than this. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that Jesus drew on the story from Isaiah to relate his message to us. And the chilling words of that passage from the great prophet still ring with a resounding blow to our ears. “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!”

Time and again, we hear throughout Scripture the message that God is the landowner, the one who provides us all with what is needed to provide us with a meaningful life. From the very beginning, we have the message from Genesis that God is the one who created the earth, with all of its resources, and gives us life. As a result, Jesus was not pointing out anything new his this parable. It was a timeless message, which began with realizing that God is the landowner; we are but his servants.

This is what makes this such a timeless message. This parable is not merely an indictment against the chief priest and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, as the early church may have interpreted it. It is a message that echoes through the eons of time. God is the owner of the universe, the owner of the vineyard. We are his managers, his servants.

And this timeless message comes to us, as members of Christ’s church, in which God has entrusted to us the managing his vineyard. This is not only an awesome responsibility but also a tremendous evaluation of the ability that God created us to possess. God believes that we can be trusted to manage his kingdom and give him a return on his investment.

The truth is, simply because we have faith in Christ does not exempt us from the powerful message of this parable. Even as Christ’s church members, we need to hear our Lord’s summation of his message. “I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.”

Thus, I come to the final points of this message. First, I believe that God does expect a return on his investment. I believe that God expects us to produce fruit in his vineyard. In other words, we are to work to bring people to faith in Christ. We need to tell the story.

To me, this is what it means to return to God the dividends that he deserves. The truth is, unless we continue to work to bring people to faith in Christ, to share the message of God’s Grace with others, sadly, the kingdom may be taken from us.

Secondly, God has been very patient with us from the beginning of creation. As I read this parable, in the context of all of Scripture, the patience of God is one of the most beautiful examples of grace that can be demonstrated. God is patient. He waits on his return for his gracious gift of life, and he waits some more. He sends his servants, prophets, and even his own Son, but all are not taken to heart and received with thanksgiving. After all, we have our own agendas to embrace.

Although the chief priests and Pharisees may have taken the brunt of this parable in the early years of Christ’s church, it still speaks to us today. We need to hear this message, serve our Lord with our labors, and return God his dividend.

Although it is not an easy task, God gives us the power to overcome our temptation to claim his vineyard as our own. Through the readings of our lessons, through the proclamation of this sermon, and in the context of this service, God’s Spirit is at work to remind us of our role to be God’s servants. And as we recall the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are reminded of God’s redeeming grace, which can give us the courage to work for God’s kingdom.

Dear Heavenly Father, through the power of your Holy Spirit, enable us to hear your Word with open hearts and minds, especially as it comes to us through your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to gain an appreciation for your patient love for us, your servants, that we might return to you the fruits of your benevolence. And above all, may we all come to recognize your redeeming grace in Christ’s death and resurrection. This we ask in his holy 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 Ronald Harbaugh.
God gives us the power to overcome our temptation to claim his vineyard as our own.

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, October 4, 2020

Prayer of the Day
SUNDAY, October 4, 2020

He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
Mark 7:34–35 (NIV)

Father in heaven, we people on earth are poor and needy. We are deaf and dumb, but you rouse us every day and call to us, "Ephphatha." We thank you for this, in gladness for all you do for our sake. Help us to become united in expectation for the great day when our Lord Jesus Christ will come, when before all people he will be proved your Son, the Savior in whom you, the Almighty, come to meet us. Through him, you say again, "Let there be light! Let there be life! Let life break free from the darkness of death so that Jesus may come as the Savior of all, the Savior even of those who are still in deepest darkness." Praise to your name, O Father in heaven. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, October 4, 2020

Proverbs 27:1
Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Read all of Proverbs 27

Listen to Proverbs 27

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — To God the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray

To God the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray

♫♪ "To God the Holy Spirit let us pray, For the true faith needed on our way, That He may defend us when life is ending, And from exile home we are wending, Lord have mercy!

"Transcendent Comforter in our ev'ry need, Help us neither scorn nor death to heed, That we may not falter nor courage fail us, When the foe shall taunt and assail us. Lord, have mercy!" ♫♪

What petitions should we bring before the Spirit of God? What work will the Third Person of the Trinity fulfill in our lives? One task of the Spirit is to "help us in our weakness" because "we do not know what to pray for as we ought" (Romans 8:26a). We are all too aware of our halting, stumbling petitions, and our hymn seeks to instruct us in prayer.

When Jesus' earthly work was finished, the risen Lord ascended to reign at the right hand of the Father, and Jesus' followers received the gift of the promised Holy Spirit, the Helper or Comforter, who came to dwell within us. It is the Spirit's task to convince the world of things that the world cannot and will not, on its own, acknowledge: sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Spirit came to guide Jesus' followers into all truth. The Spirit does not point to Himself but glorifies Jesus (see John 16:7-15).

The Holy Spirit called us to faith through the Gospel, and it is only by His power that we are able to confess and proclaim that "Jesus is Lord" (1 Corinthians 12:3). So it is only right that, in our hymn, we pray "for the true faith needed on our way." While we enjoy this created world as a gift from God, we know that we are exiles here, as "home we are wending." Like the saints of old, we acknowledge that we are "strangers and exiles on the earth" and we "desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one" (see Hebrews 11:13-16).

The Spirit, the Comforter, is transcendent, that is, the Spirit and the aid He provides come from outside our earth-bound experience. The comfort and hope we have is not self-help; the confidence of faith is not our own invention. On our own, we would fail as we face the scorn of the world or the threat of death. Left to ourselves, we would falter and courage would fail us when "the foe shall taunt and assail us," as we know he will. The help of the transcendent Comforter is a rescue and a source of courage and strength that is not of this world! We will not falter in the face of ridicule and scorn, or stumble in faith at the approach of death, because the Spirit sustains us.

Even though faced with scorn and imprisonment, the apostles did not falter. They prayed for courage in proclaiming Jesus' death and resurrection and "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:31b). That is our prayer as well, a prayer for true faith, for Spirit-given courage, and for steps that do not falter. Lord, have mercy!

Spirit of God, strengthen our faith and give us courage to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Jesus. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "To God the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray."

Reflection Questions:
1. How do you sense the Holy Spirit working in your life?

2. How does the Holy Spirit defend us when life is ending?

3. Can you describe a time when you felt the Holy Spirit's comfort?
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
What petitions should we bring before the Spirit of God?

Standing Strong Through the Storm — GOD’S AMAZING GRACE

And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.

When I think of God’s grace in an individual’s life, the story of Ruth comes to mind. And not just because Ruth was the name of my own dear mother. Ruth from the Bible was a widowed but faithful daughter-in-law whom God in His grace blessed with a new country, new husband and family. She is one of the few women (and a Gentile at that) mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.

God’s grace is also the key principle in so many people’s faith stories. My co-teacher in Standing Strong Through the Storm (SSTS) seminars, Jim Cunningham, was teaching in Sri Lanka and learned first-hand of this amazing example. Names used are not their real names.

Arjuna, a young married man with a family, was part of a team of Christians running an orphanage in a rural village of Sri Lanka. One of the girls from the orphanage was sexually abused by a boy in the village. The police investigated and she identified the boy. The police then arrested the boy.

But the villagers rose-up-in-arms saying Arjuna sexually assaulted the girl and she just blamed the village boy to protect Arjuna. The villagers found and forced another girl to say she too was assaulted by Arjuna.

Arjuna was ultimately sentenced to fifteen years in jail where he subsequently led a number of other prisoners to Christ. One of those men who accepted Christ was Menika. After his release from prison, Menika went to seminary and became a church-planting pastor in a small rural town of Sri Lanka.

Arjuna continued in his prison ministry. He led another criminal to Christ who had committed a capital offense and was on death row. His name was Chandra. Before he was put to death, Chandra said to Arjuna, “I’d like to give the deed to my house to someone in ministry...” It just so happened Chandra’s house was in the same small rural town where Menika was beginning to plant a church.

o Chandra gave his house to the “church-planting” former prisoner, Menika, redeemed by God’s grace through Arjuna’s being falsely accused and sent to prison. Amazing grace!

After six and a half years Arjuna was released from prison but because of the false charge against him was unable to work with children. He now has an ongoing ministry in the prisons of Sri Lanka.

Jim said to me, “This is not how most of us would have written the script, but—as in the life of Ruth—I rejoice in God’s amazing grace and provision for all involved!”

RESPONSE: I will praise God today for His amazing grace and provision in these lives mentioned and in my own life.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord that Your amazing grace is so real, so available and so free.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
When I think of God’s grace in an individual’s life, the story of Ruth comes to mind.

John Piper Devotional — Joy Unbound
Joy Unbound

“I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Imagine being able to enjoy what is most enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever. This is not now our experience. Three things stand in the way of our complete satisfaction in this world.

One is that nothing has a personal worth great enough to meet the deepest longings of our hearts.

Another is that we lack the strength to savor the best treasures to their maximum worth.

And the third obstacle to complete satisfaction is that our joys here come to an end. Nothing lasts. But if the aim of Jesus in John 17:26 comes true, all this will change.

If God’s pleasure in the Son becomes our pleasure, then the object of our pleasure, Jesus, will be inexhaustible in personal worth. He will never become boring or disappointing or frustrating.

No greater treasure can be conceived than the Son of God.

Moreover, our ability to savor this inexhaustible treasure will not be limited by human weaknesses. We will enjoy the Son of God with the very enjoyment of his Father.

God’s delight in his Son will be in us and it will be ours. And this will never end, because neither the Father nor the Son ever ends.

Their love for each other will be our love for them and therefore our loving them will never die.
Imagine being able to enjoy what is most enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever.…

Un dia a la Vez — Poder transformador de la Palabra
Poder transformador de la Palabra

La palabra de Dios es viva y poderosa, y más cortante que cualquier espada de dos filos.

A manera de testimonio te puedo dar fe de que no soy ni la mitad de lo que fui antes de conocer la Palabra de Dios.

Como a muchos, me gusta decir que la Biblia es el Manual de Instrucciones porque eso es en realidad: Un manual que te muestra con hechos que la Palabra de Dios tiene mucho poder para sanar, liberar y transformar.

Una vez que hablamos de la Palabra, la leemos o la enseñamos, no volverá vacía. Por eso se compara con una espada de dos filos, pues corta y transforma.

Cada día podemos acudir a esta guía y nos mostrará cómo cambiar esas esferas de la vida que necesitan la intervención de Dios, al igual que lo fue con grandes hombres y mujeres de la Biblia.

Otra cosa que debemos tener muy presente es que la Palabra de Dios nunca pierde poder ni vigencia. En fin, todo pasará, pero la Palabra no pasará.

Confíale tu vida a Dios y pon en sus manos todo lo que necesite cambio.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Un manual que te muestra con hechos que la Palabra de Dios tiene mucho poder para sanar, liberar y transformar.

Unser Täglich Brot — Seltsamer Trost

Seltsamer Trost

Lesung: 2. Könige 6,15-17 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Jesaja 20-22; Epheser 6

Herr, öffne ihm die Augen und lass ihn sehen.

Der Vers auf der Karte, die Lisa erhielt, schien nicht zu ihrer Situation zu passen: „Da öffnete der Herr dem Diener die Augen, und als er aufblickte, sah er, dass das Bergland um Elisa herum voll feuriger Pferde und Streitwagen war“ (V. 17). Ich habe Krebs! dachte sie verwirrt. Ich habe gerade ein Kind verloren! Ein Vers über Engelssoldaten trifft nicht zu.

Dann begannen die ‚Engel‘ aufzutauchen. Krebsüberlebende schenkten ihr ihre Zeit und ein offenes Ohr. Ihr Mann wurde vorzeitig aus einem Auslandseinsatz des Militärs entlassen. Freunde beteten mit ihr. Aber der Moment, in dem sie am meisten Gottes Liebe spürte, war, als ihre Freundin Patty mit zwei Kisten Taschentüchern hereinkam. Sie legte sie auf den Tisch und begann zu weinen. Patty wusste es. Auch sie hatte Fehlgeburten erlitten.

„Das bedeutete mehr als alles andere“, sagt Lisa. „Die Karte machte jetzt Sinn. Meine ‚Engelssoldaten‘ waren die ganze Zeit da gewesen.“

Als eine Armee Israel belagerte, schützte eine Schar von echten Engeln Elisa. Aber Elisas Diener konnte sie nicht sehen. „Was sollen wir tun?“, rief er dem Propheten zu (V. 15). Elisa betete einfach: „Öffne ihm die Augen und lass ihn sehen“ (V. 17).

Wenn wir auf Gott schauen, wird uns unsere Krise zeigen, was wirklich zählt und dass wir nicht allein sind. Wir lernen, dass uns Gottes tröstende Gegenwart nie verlässt. Er zeigt uns seine Liebe auf unendlich überraschende Weise.
Wie sieht deine erste Reaktion auf schlechte Nachrichten aus? Wenn du eine Krise durchlebst, wie erkennst du Gott auf neue Weise?
Lieber Herr, danke, dass ich mich vollständig auf deine Gegenwart verlassen kann. Öffne meine Augen, damit ich dich heute in einer neuen Weise erkenne.

© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Der Vers auf der Karte, die Lisa erhielt, schien nicht zu ihrer Situation zu passen…