Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, October 18, 2020 — 20th Sunday After Pentecost


The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, October 18, 2020 — 20th Sunday After Pentecost

The Glory of God
Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10;
Matthew 22:15-22
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

These are challenging times. The division and frustration are palpable. The balance is constantly shifting. The lines, consistently blurred. Truths, half truths, lies, mixed messages, confusing headlines…all in the middle of a Nation whose back has been broken. Finding God in the midst of this moment is difficult. As the election draws closer, countless voices will try to sway you one way or the other. Yet your responsibility is simple. Pray earnestly, seek God passionately, listen carefully and vote how He leads you. God’s is sovereign, He always has been. He is faithful and always will be. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens outside of His providence. This is where we find peace in this moment.

Opening Sentences

We strive to have the ways of God revealed in concrete and tangible ways. Yet, with our limitations, we fail to recognize that God is revealed through all things. Moses needs assurance that God will not leave him alone and pleads to see God’s face so that he can trust God’s presence at all times. The psalmist proclaims that God is revealed in the quaking of the earth, the pillars of clouds, and in the high mountains. All of the earth belongs to God, revealing God’s goodness and love of justice. In response, we are called to break into glorious songs of praise. In 1 Thessalonians, God’s love is revealed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Spirit, we respond to Christ by being steadfast in hope, as we labor in love, revealing Christ’s love to all people. In Matthew, Jesus reveals that the ways of God are not narrow but, rather, broad and all-encompassing.

Opening Prayer

Living God, move among us and awaken us to your loving presence. When we lose our way and put our confidence in our possessions and our wisdom, call us back to you. Remind us that our very identity is dependent on your abiding mercy. Show us how to walk with steadfast faithfulness, following the path of justice and goodness in our daily lives. May our days be filled with joy and hope as we share the good news of abundant life that comes from following Jesus Christ. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

God of mercy, we place our trust in tangible things—things we can see and touch—and question whether you are really there. Forgive us, Holy One, when we fail to recognize that you are always nearby, patiently waiting for us to recognize your presence and your glory. Help us when we lose our way, and forgive us when we forget to whom we truly belong. Lover of justice, open our eyes to see you; open our ears to hear you; open our hearts to love you; and open our hands to serve you.

Assurance of Pardon

When we cry to God, looking for favor in God’s sight, God answers: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” In the power of the Spirit and in the name of Jesus, we are forgiven! We will rest in God’s mercy!

First Reading
Exodus 33:12-23
God’s glory revealed to Moses

33:12 And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
Moses is very earnest with God. Thus, by the intercession of Christ, we are not only saved from ruin but become entitled to everlasting happiness. Observe here how he pleads. We find grace in God's sight if we find grace in our hearts to guide and quicken us in the way of our duty. Moses speaks as one who dreaded the thought of going forward without the Lord's presence. God's gracious promises, and mercy towards us, should not only encourage our faith but also excite our fervency in prayer. Observe how he speeds. See, in a type, Christ's intercession, which he ever lives to make for all that come to God by him; and that it is not by anything in those for whom he intercedes. Moses then entreats a sight of God's glory and is heard in that also. A full discovery of the glory of God would overwhelm even Moses himself. Man is mean and unworthy of it; weak, and could not bear it; guilty, and could not but dread it. We can bear the merciful display which is made in Christ Jesus, alone. The Lord granted that which would abundantly satisfy. God's goodness is his glory; and he will have us to know him by the glory of his mercy, more than by the glory of his majesty. Upon the rock, there was a suitable place for Moses to view the goodness and glory of God. The rock in Horeb was typical of Christ the Rock—the Rock of refuge, salvation, and strength. Happy are they who stand upon this Rock. The cleft may be an emblem of Christ, as smitten, crucified, wounded, and slain. What follows denotes the imperfect knowledge of God in the present state, even as revealed in Christ; for this, when compared with the heavenly sight of him. is but like seeing a man that is gone by, whose back only is to be seen. As he is, God in Christ is even the fullest and brightest displays of his glory, grace, and goodness, are reserved to another state.

Psalm 99
Proclaim God’s greatness

1 The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.

2 The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.

3 Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.

4 The king's strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.

5 Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them.

7 He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.

8 Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.

9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.
Verses 1-5 — God governs the world by his providence, governs the church by his grace, and both by his Son. The inhabitants of the earth have cause to tremble, but the Redeemer still waits to be gracious. Let all who hear, take warning, and seek his mercy. The more we humble ourselves before God, the more we exalt him; and let us be thus reverent, for he is holy.

Verses 6-9 — The happiness of Israel is made out by referring to the most useful governors of those people. In everything, they made God's word and law their rule, knowing that they could not else expect that their prayers should be answered. They all wonderfully prevailed with God in prayer; miracles were wrought at their request. They pleaded for the people and obtained answers of peace. Our Prophet and High Priest, of infinitely greater dignity than Moses, Aaron, or Samuel, has received and declared to us the will of the Father. Let us not only exalt the Lord with our lips but give him the throne in our heart; and while we worship him upon his mercy-seat, let us never forget that he is holy.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Thanksgiving for the church at Thessalonica

1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Verses 1-5 — As all good comes from God, so no good can be hoped for by sinners, but from God in Christ. And the best good may be expected from God, as our Father, for the sake of Christ. We should pray, not only for ourselves but for others also, remembering them without ceasing. Wherever there is a true faith, it will work; it will affect both the heart and life. Faith works by love; it shows itself in love to God and love to our neighbor. And wherever there is a well-grounded hope of eternal life, this will appear by the exercise of patience; and it is a sign of sincerity when we seek to approve ourselves to God in all we do. By this, we may know our election, if we not only speak of the things of God without lips, but feel their power in our hearts, mortifying our lusts, weaning us from the world, and raising us up to heavenly things. Unless the Spirit of God comes with the word of God, it will be to us a dead letter. Thus they entertained it by the power of the Holy Ghost. They were fully convinced of the truth of it, so as not to be shaken in mind by objections and doubts; and they were willing to leave all for Christ, and to venture their souls and everlasting condition upon the truth of the gospel revelation.

Verses 6-10 — When careless, ignorant, and immoral persons are turned from their carnal pursuits and connexions, to believe in and obey the Lord Jesus, to live soberly, righteously, and godly, the matter speaks for itself. The believers under the Old Testament waited for the coming of the Messiah, and believers now wait for his second coming. He is yet to come. And God had raised him from the dead, which is a full assurance unto all men that he will come to judgment. He came to purchase salvation, and will, when he comes again, bring salvation with him, full and final deliverance from that wrath which is yet to come. Without delay, let all flee from the wrath to come and seek refuge in Christ and his salvation.

The Gospel
Matthew 22:15-22
A teaching about the emperor and God

22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
The Pharisees sent their disciples with the Herodians, a party among the Jews, who were for full subjection to the Roman emperor. Though opposed to each other, they joined against Christ. What they said of Christ was right; whether they knew it or not, blessed be God, we know it. Jesus Christ was a faithful Teacher and a bold reprover. Christ saw their wickedness. Whatever mask the hypocrite puts on, our Lord Jesus sees through it. Christ did not interpose as a judge in matters of this nature, for his kingdom is not of this world, but he enjoins peaceable subjection to the powers that be. His adversaries were reproved, and his disciples were taught that the Christian religion is no enemy to civil government. Christ is and will be, the wonder, not only of his friends but also of his enemies. They admire his wisdom, but will not be guided by it; his power, but will not submit to it.

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.

Beloved of the Lord, go forth in peace to joyfully serve God. Share your lives and your blessings with others in need. Go in peace. Amen.

Be Transformed

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.
We strive to have the ways of God revealed in concrete and tangible ways. Yet, with our limitations, we fail to recognize that God is revealed through all things. Moses needs assurance that God will not leave him alone and pleads to see God’s face so that he can trust God’s presence at all times. The psalmist proclaims that God is revealed in the quaking of the earth, the pillars of clouds, and in the high mountains. All of the earth belongs to God, revealing God’s goodness and love of justice. In response, we are called to break into glorious songs of praise. In 1 Thessalonians, God’s love is revealed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Spirit, we respond to Christ by being steadfast in hope, as we labor in love, revealing Christ’s love to all people. In Matthew, Jesus reveals that the ways of God are not narrow but, rather, broad and all-encompassing.
Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

“Rightly Dividing Church and State” (Matthew 22:15-22) The Sermon for SUNDAY, October 18, 2020


Today, our gospel message comes to us from Matthew 22:15-22, “Paying Taxes to Caesar.”

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away (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.

“Rightly Dividing Church and State”
By David Anderson

There are those things that are more or less political and those that are eternal. Our Lord says it like this within Matthew’s gospel: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

They came to Jesus, the Pharisees, to get Him in trouble. Should they pay taxes to an emperor who had conquered and taken over God’s people?

If our Lord said a simple “no,” He would have been labeled an insurrectionist and would be in trouble with Roman authorities. If Jesus had said, “yes,” he would have alienated many Jewish Zealots who despised Roman occupation.

Today, asserting that the Christian influence should be allowed into the public square, particularly the public classroom, gets one into the same kind of dilemma that our Lord faced.

Suppose Mary says that Christian ideas should have the same access to the public schoolroom as do secular ideas. In that case, she is accused of going against the Supreme Court and Thomas Jefferson’s often quoted “wall of separation.” If Tom says that Christianity has no place in a public classroom, he is in favor of the moral corruption of our youth.

Now our Lord’s answer was clearly intended to avoid the trap. He never answered the question put to Him by those who had laid the trap. He, in effect, forces them to decide for themselves.

Still, Jesus does imply, without any hedge, that there are things that belong to God, and things that belong to the political order.

What kinds of things might belong to the political order? In the United States, we could list a number of things:

  • What kind of tax form should be used to report one’s earnings would belong to Caesar.

  • Where the state capitol should be located is also a political thing, not important to ultimate concerns.

  • How to divide voting districts is Caesar’s decision.

  • What roads in the state will be graveled, and what roads will be blacktopped might be important to some of us, but I don’t think it is a big item on God’s list.

I could go on and on with things that really are more or less secular in nature, and God gladly gives over to Caesar and his politicians’ administration.

Today I want to look at a deeper issue. In fact, I want to look at the foundation issue. Did our Founding Fathers, who gave us the foundation, consider religion to be distinct from the American government and public learning? To say it another way, did the Founding Fathers consider public matters to be a purely secular thing, building a great wall to keep Christianity out of government and the public school?

Does it matter to God how these questions are answered? Would God prefer to keep the Bible out of the public square and classroom? Are there consequences to a right or wrong answer to these questions?

…His country was in disorder. It struggled to find a beginning, a foundation for public life, after its hard-fought war for independence. James Madison, along with Thomas Jefferson and others, began to form documents that would lead to a constitution for this new nation.

James Madison was one of the Founding Fathers for the United States of America and its fourth president. He has been referred to as the “Father of the Constitution.” He wrote 29 of the 85 numbers to “The Federalist Papers” and was the architect who fashioned the Executive Branch within our constitution.

James Madison, Father of the Constitution and intimate friend of Thomas Jefferson, wrote in his famous article, Memorial and Remonstration: “Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe…”

Now, this is a big statement by a founder of our nation and the “father” of its constitution. He is saying, in effect, that for America, the civil arena—the public square—is not for people who subject themselves first to “Caesar,” but to citizens who subject themselves to God. James Madison would disagree with the Supreme Court today—a court that wants to say that the public square and the public classroom are secular places where God’s will and meaning should have no say at all.

Does it matter what Madison thinks? Some years back, a book was written that looked statistically at what was happening to our children since the Supreme Court ruled against prayer in the classroom—a ruling in 1963. Now, I know that there are dangers that concern us about the theology of those leading the prayers, etc. in a public setting, but that being noted, this book demonstrates a clear downward slide for America’s health and well-being’s youth since 1963.

I don’t think that we can say that it was just this Supreme Court’s decision on prayer that caused damage to our youth. All kinds of things have been going on since the sixties that are bad for youth. But at the very least, this decision against prayer marks (directly or indirectly) a changing pattern within our society—a change from honoring God in the public arena to wanting to get God out of the public arena.

This new attitude that rejects God within public life was the subject of a speech given once by Rep. William Dannemeyer of California. Let me quote an extended statement that he made during that speech:

“The Judeo-Christian ethic begins with God, the Creator of man and the world, who gave us moral absolutes and fixed standards. Moral Relativism denies the existence of God and rejects the application of moral standards to the problems which arise in everyday life. Under Moral Relativism, man is the final arbiter of what rules will apply in any situation. Some people may ask, how did it come to be that a nation which began its existence based on the Judeo-Christian ethic is now involved in an intensifying cultural war where the current crop of the prophet of Baal, advocates Moral Relativism, are seriously contending that this philosophy should now dominate American culture?” [End of Quote.]
Dannemeyer believes that our nation began with public standards of right and wrong fixed within the Judeo-Christian world view. In other words, the Bible—Old Testament and New—was a public book intended for public consumption.

In effect, Dannemeyer states that we began in the clear waters of Biblical truth, running through the public square and bringing life to America’s citizens. Still, today we slosh around in a cesspool where “each man does what is right in his own eyes.”

How did America drift from a high standard of morality rooted in God’s truth to the moral relativism that predominates our culture today? Dannemeyer believes that it dates back to the Scope Trials and also to John Dewey, the atheist. The latter is the primary architect of public education as we have it in America today.

For over a half-century, a strong movement has been afoot within the high walls of education to get God out of the classroom. James Madison believed that if we make students subject to God first, then they will be good citizens. Today it is often said that we must get “God” out of children, then they’ll be good citizens.

In fact, some would make it illegal for parents to “inflict” their religion onto their own children! If they win, you will not be allowed to bring your children to church or Sunday school or ask them to pray with you at home. Can you imagine that?

Herbert Schlossberg, in his book, Idols for Destruction, Christian Faith and its Confrontation with American Society, argues that God reveals Himself as the Lord of all history. The significant history that takes place, the moral decisions that happen moment by moment in the public square, are all matters that concern Him.

Schlossberg goes a step further then Dannemeyer as he places Jesus Christ at the center of the whole planet’s public square. He writes: “The Church’s paramount message about history, of course, is that the dividing between B.C. and A.D. is not just a convention and that the coming of Jesus Christ into history is the manifestation of eternity into time.”

The coming of Christ gave us the yardstick for measuring history as it had been, and history as it would be. God worked within the secular Romans, including Pontius Pilate, He worked within the corrupt politics of the Jewish antagonists, He worked in the teaching and healing ministry of Christ (which almost always took place in public settings), to bring Jesus to the Cross where, after His resurrection, history now only had meaning in Christ.

It is because of Jesus, and His teachings, that I can tell you that when Caesar says make County Road 14 a blacktop and not a gravel road, God sits and watches. But when Caesar says its all right to abort children in the womb or practice infanticide, God says such decisions do not belong to Caesar or his politicians, but to God. And God says No! And our youth need to know that God says No!

Morality, which should be learned in the public classroom, is not up to debate or a vote, not according to God’s playbook; the matter is settled. No debate. Wrong is wrong! And if we do not teach right and wrong within the public square and the public classroom, do not be surprised when kids bring guns and kill each other with them.

It’s not the guns that are doing the killing, it’s kids who have lost all proportion for right and wrong that are killing their peers, their parents, and even strangers.

But wait a minute, pastor, our Founding Father’s placed a wall between church and state. That’s just the way it is!

Let’s go back and look at the one who used this phrase “separation of church and state,” not (by the way) within the United States constitution, but within a letter that he wrote. What was the issue at stake? Virginians were being forced to tithe to the Anglican denomination. As governor of Virginia, he pushed through legislation to stop this practice because HE DID NOT WANT A STATE ESTABLISHED RELIGION!

This is a big point! Please understand that Jefferson was trying to prevent a single denomination and its theology from being dictated to Virginia’s citizens. He was absolutely not against Christianity influencing government. He was against the government influencing Christianity. Unlike what we are told today, Jefferson strongly believed that Christian understanding must have freely expressed itself within the public square.

If Jefferson were to come back from the dead and see what we have done to force God and His influence out of public life, he would have conniptions!

Just look! At the same time, Jefferson was moving the legislation just mentioned. He wrote Bill #84, which said, and I quote: “If any person on Sunday shall himself be found laboring at his own or any other trade…he shall forfeit the sum of ten shillings for every such offense.”

Now, this seems extreme to us, but it clearly shows that Jefferson wanted God’s command to honor the Sabbath day mandated, not just for Christians, but within the public square generally.

Jefferson passed all kinds of such legislation! For example, he passed legislation the excluded, in the public arena of life, any form of marriage that went against that which is described as proper in the Book of Leviticus—the Bible!

When elected president of the United States, Jefferson wrote, “…the Christian religion is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expression of the human mind.” Today we are told that Christianity is oppressive; that it censors the pursuit of academics.

Now I know there is a lot of propaganda out there about Jefferson being a deist. And it’s just that, propaganda that works because people don’t study primary sources within history. Dumbed down Americans believe those who alter history and serve it up second hand. If any of you would like to visit with me about Jefferson’s religious views, catch me later. I contend that he was not a deist. Influenced by this strong movement of the time—yes, but not a deist.

So what is the Lord saying to you from Matthew’s text, as you sit in the pew, but shortly will leave for the mission fields?

First and foremost, He reminds us that He is God, and He has a kingdom. It is a Kingdom of Grace. It will stand as governments have fallen, as governments continue to fall, as governments will topple in the future.

It stands for us—imperfect, sinful citizens of God’s Kingdom of Grace. It stands when we make good and bad decisions about giving to God what is God’s. It stands when our sin is as scarlet, to make us white as snow.

The words of Christ today also call us into mission. We are to go out into the public square and witness God’s truth—the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ—the truth concerning God’s moral will, which is that standard for all human life, not just Christians.

Rightly dividing church and state does not mean separating God from the public. In fact, the complete opposite is true. Jefferson erected the wall to prevent the government from telling us that we cannot freely exercise our faith in the public square and the public classroom.

Our government has become confused about that issue today, but may the Holy Spirit clear our minds so that we will dare to be bold—so that we give unto God what is God’s! God sends us out into his world—the planetary public square—to proclaim His truth. The truth of salvation! The truth concerning His moral standard!

God wills salvation for all people. If the government locks the Christian messages about sin and Savior into church buildings, there will be no way for the lost to go, but to destruction. May we care so greatly for those whom Jesus died for, that we become informed, find our voice, and then vote our conscience. 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 David Anderson.
America was founded upon the Christian understanding of life.

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, October 18, 2020


Prayer of the Day
SUNDAY, October 18, 2020

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Matthew 22:37–39 (NIV)

Lord our God, through your Spirit help us to live in love to you. Open our eyes to see your goodness and truth surrounding us your children, even in this troubled world. We look to you, Almighty Father. Protect us in these difficult times. We plead for our country, entrusting it to your care so that love to you may be awakened. Where shall we turn except to you? Where shall we find help except in Jesus Christ, whom you have sent to us to win the victory, to subdue and end all evil in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and to become Lord, to the glory of your name? Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, October 18, 2020


Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Read all of Psalm 27

Listen to Psalm 27

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Ichthus Ministries Daily Devotions — I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light


I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

♫♪ "I want to walk as a child of the light; I want to follow Jesus. God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus. In Him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

"I'm looking for the coming of Christ. I want to be with Jesus. When we have run with patience the race, We shall know the joy of Jesus. In Him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus." ♫♪

We are fascinated by the beauty and mystery of the stars. Astronomers indulge that fascination and add to our knowledge. Astrologers with their horoscopes wrongly attribute to the stars the power to determine human events, a power the stars do not have. The stars are created things, and their existence and movements are ordained by their Creator. "He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names" (Psalm 147:4). We have also named stars-Polaris, Rigel, Sirius, and many others. Named and nameless, the stars bring light to the night sky and help travelers find their way. The "star" that we love and follow has a God-given Name. "The star of my life is Jesus."

Our guiding star is the God who created the stars, and who was born among us to be our Savior. He said of Himself, "I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning Star" (Revelation 22:16b). Jesus, God the Son, took on human flesh to suffer the penalty of death that we deserved for wandering from God's Word and ways, for following false stars. We are created anew in Baptism as children of light, and now we follow Jesus, the bright sun and guiding star of our lives. As both Scripture and our hymn proclaim, in Him there "is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5b).

As we walk with Jesus in the light, and "run with patience the race" that is set before us, we look forward to what lies ahead. But we are not just enjoying the scenery, although we do appreciate the beauty of the world our Creator has made. We are watching for the finish line, searching for an event yet to come. We do not know when He will return, but we are "looking for the coming of Christ," that great day when our crucified and risen Lord will raise us bodily from death, as He was raised, and welcome us into His presence forever. The race we have patiently run will come to its end. We will live in the place that Jesus has prepared for us, a home that has no need of stars or sun "for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb" (Revelation 21:23b).

Lord Jesus, as we await Your return, lead us by Your Word to walk as children of light. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light."

Reflection Questions:
1. What are the things you find most fascinating about the universe?

2. Can you describe a little bit about how there is no darkness in Jesus? What does that mean to you?

3. How can we "walk as a child of the light" in our day-to-day lives?
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
We are fascinated by the beauty and mystery of the stars. Astronomers indulge that fascination and add to our knowledge.

Standing Strong Through the Storm — TRAINING A COLONY OF ANTS



For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Discipleship training is a significant part of the ministry of Open Doors. Today a report from one of those involved in receiving training in the house churches of Iran:

“I am proud to be an Iranian, but I have to say that daily life has not become easier lately. Three weeks ago, I had a small talk with a Muslim in a park near a main street splitting Tehran north and south. We talked in veiled terms about religion and politics. At the end, the Muslim told me, ‘It feels like a big prison, to be living here.’ I agreed but didn’t dare to say so. I glanced away, thinking of my Christian friend arrested in December 2010, who is still in prison now.

“I realized that I have more freedom than many of my Christian brothers and sisters who are in jail. But after talking with this Muslim, I also realized that since I became Christian, I have even more freedom than he does! Even the Christians in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison have more freedom than Muslims do. It filled me with a feeling of sympathy, and I thought about the lessons we had been learning. It’s part of our discipleship training.

“That training really helped our house group. Together with my wife, we are the leaders of this house church, and every week we get together for at least one meeting. We rotate places and days, but it is always in the evening. We study parts of the Bible, talk about the paragraphs that we like or don’t understand, and try to apply it to our daily lives.

“This sounds good, maybe, but I often wonder if this is the right way to do it. How should I know? I became a believer six years ago when I was seventeen. I don’t feel qualified to call myself a leader. What do I know about the role of the Holy Spirit, about a Christian marriage, about explaining the Bible or studying the Bible in the right way? But others came to faith later, so I am the most ‘experienced’ of our group.

“The training helps us enormously to grow in our own leadership roles, but also motivates us to hand down the important things we learned to others. Now we know we have to stay close to the Word of God. Because it is easy to ascribe our own thoughts to the Holy Spirit, we learned how to test them against the Bible. The training also helped us open up and discuss untouched topics, like relationships in marriage and being a servant leader like Jesus was.

“Through this discipleship training, we’ve been so encouraged to know that people all over the world know about us and pray for us. This helps groups like ours to stay spiritually healthy, and grow in numbers, too.

“Even though believers in house groups like ours have to stay hidden and face a lot of difficulties, I think the church of Iran is like a colony of ants: most of them you don’t see!”

RESPONSE: Today, I want to see new believers I know discipled in the scriptures. I will do everything possible to teach and model God’s Word.

PRAYER: Pray for the discipleship training in Iran and other Islamic nations. Pray that house groups will continue to grow in their faith and reach out to others around them.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
Discipleship training is a significant part of the ministry of Open Doors. Today a report from one of those involved in receiving training in the house churches of Iran:

John Piper Devotional — Jesus’ Joy in Marriage


Jesus’ Joy in Marriage

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor.

The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses. The biblical mandate to husbands and wives is to seek your own joy in the joy of your spouse.

There is scarcely a more hedonistic passage in the Bible than the one on marriage in Ephesians 5:25–30. Husbands are told to love their wives the way Christ loved the church.

How did he love the church? “He gave himself up for her.” But why? “That he might sanctify and cleanse her.” But why did he want to do that? “That he might present the church to himself in splendor”!

Ah! There it is! “For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). What joy? The joy of marriage to his bride, the church.

Jesus does not want a dirty and unholy wife. Therefore, he was willing to die to “sanctify and cleanse” his betrothed so he could present to himself a wife “in splendor.” He gained the desire of his heart by giving himself up for the good of his bride.

The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses.

Un dia a la Vez — La risa alegra tu vida


La risa alegra tu vida

Nuestra boca se llenó de risas; nuestra lengua, de canciones jubilosas.

Si supiéramos a ciencia cierta lo que ocasiona la risa en nuestro cuerpo, los muchos músculos de la cara que se activan y el beneficio que hace en el alma, creo que reiríamos más a menudo.

Yo me considero una persona muy feliz y muy alegre. Me fascina reírme y sé que esa alegría se contagia a otras personas que viven tristes por sus problemas. Además, tengo el privilegio y el hermoso trabajo en la radio de llevar positivismo y motivación a mis oyentes.

Tú también puedes hacer lo mismo que yo. Puedes alegrarte y llenarte de júbilo, como dice la Palabra, pues Dios te da la fortaleza para ver tus problemas de otra manera. No en vano la Biblia dice que «el corazón alegre hermosea el rostro» (Proverbios 15:13, RV-60).

Si hablamos del amor de Dios, no debemos destilar amargura, odio, mal genio, ni tampoco soberbia. Hay personas que su misma frustración les roba la sonrisa de sus labios. Tampoco es justo contigo mismo consumirte en la tristeza y el dolor.

Sé que hay tiempo de llorar y tiempo de reír, pero es obvio que no debemos llevarlo a los extremos. También hay un cierto tipo de risa burlona que hace daño y la Palabra le llama a esto «vanidad».

Dios es Dios de nuevos comienzos. Así que hoy Él quiere devolverte la alegría y endulzar tu vida. ¡No pases por alto esta oportunidad!

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Si supiéramos a ciencia cierta lo que ocasiona la risa en nuestro cuerpo, los muchos músculos de la cara que se activan y el beneficio que hace en el alma, creo que reiríamos más a menudo.

Unser Täglich Brot — Jenseits der Sterne zuhören


Jenseits der Sterne zuhören

Lesung: Jesaja 55,1-7 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: Jesaja 53-55; 2. Thessalonicher 1

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Sucht den Herrn, solange er sich finden lässt.

Jesaja 55,6

Man stelle sich ein Leben ohne Mobiltelefone, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth-Geräte oder Mikrowellenherde vor. So ist es in der kleinen Stadt Green Bank, die als „die ruhigste Stadt Amerikas“ bekannt ist. Hier befindet sich das Green-Bank-Observatorium, das größte lenkbare Radioteleskop der Welt. Das Teleskop braucht Ruhe, um die natürlich vorkommenden Radiowellen zu ‚hören‘, die durch die Bewegung von Pulsaren und Galaxien im tiefen Weltraum ausgestrahlt werden. Es hat eine Fläche, die größer als ein Fußballfeld ist, und steht im Zentrum einer nationalen Radio-Ruhezone, einer 33.670 Quadratkilometer großen Zone, die eingerichtet wurde, um elektronische Störungen der extremen Empfindlichkeit des Teleskops zu verhindern.

Diese gewollte Ruhe ermöglicht es den Wissenschaftlern, „die Musik der Sphären“ zu hören. Sie erinnert mich auch an unser Bedürfnis, uns soweit zur Ruhe zu bringen, dass wir dem Einen, der das Universum erschaffen hat, zuhören können. Durch den Propheten Jesaja teilte Gott einem launischen und abgelenkten Volk mit: „Kommt zu mir und sperrt die Ohren auf! Hört mir zu und eure Seele wird leben. Ich will einen ewigen Bund mit euch schließen“ (V. 3). Gott verspricht seine treue Liebe allen, die ihn suchen und sich an ihn wenden werden, um Vergebung zu erlangen.

Wir hören bewusst auf Gott, indem wir uns von unseren Ablenkungen abwenden, um ihm in der Bibel und im Gebet zu begegnen. Gott ist nicht fern. Er sehnt sich danach, dass wir uns Zeit für ihn nehmen, damit er die Priorität unseres täglichen Lebens und dann für die Ewigkeit sein kann.

Warum ist es so wichtig, auf Gott in deinem Leben zu hören? Wie kannst du dir bewusst Zeit für ihn nehmen?
Hilf mir, vor dir heute still zu werden, lieber Herr, auch wenn es nur für einen kurzen Moment ist. Nichts ist wichtiger, als bei dir zu sein.

Von James Banks

© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Man stelle sich ein Leben ohne Mobiltelefone, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth-Geräte oder Mikrowellenherde vor.