Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, December 8, 2021

 
John the Baptist Questions Jesus

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Psalm 126; Isaiah 35:3-7; Luke 7:18-30
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction

In today’s lectionary readings, the Psalm originally spoke of the cultural and geographical restoration experienced (or expected) by those who had returned home from a prolonged exile. It delights the senses with its images of refreshment and sustenance. It reminds us that dreaming can offer a way to know who we are, why we suffer, and what we want for our future. Our reading in Isaiah 35 is a powerful poetic word of comfort for the mourning Judahite exiles who lost their temple, land, and sovereignty. Their suffering is manifested in weak hands, feeble knees, a fearful heart, obscured vision, hindered hearing, broken bodies, and silent tongues. In our gospel reading, John the Baptist, while sitting in jail having never seen any miracles performed by Jesus, sent two of his disciples to Jesus to question him if he was the one who is to come or if they should expect someone else. In our verse of the day, Jesus uttered one of His seven famous “I am” statements when He identifies Himself as the way and the truth and the life. In these words, Jesus was declaring Himself the great “I Am,” the only path to heaven, the only true measure of righteousness, and the source of both physical and spiritual life.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The truth is very narrow—the only way someone can come to the Father is through Jesus, who lived a completely sinless life, in thought, word, and deed.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 126
Prayer for Restoration

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
     we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
     our tongues with songs of joy.
  Then it was said among the nations,
     “The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
     and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
     like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
     will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
     carrying seed to sow,
  will return with songs of joy,
     carrying sheaves with them.


Commentary

Verses 1-3: It is good to observe how God's deliverances of the church are for us, that we may rejoice in them. And how ought redemption from the wrath to come, from the power of sin and of Satan, to be valued! The sinner convinced of his guilt and danger, when by looking to a crucified Savior he receives peace to his conscience, and power to break off his sins, often can scarcely believe that the prospect which opens to him is a reality.

Verses 4-6: The beginnings of mercies encourage us to pray for the completion of them. And while we are in this world there will be matter for prayer, even when we are most furnished with matter for praise. Suffering saints are often in tears; they share the calamities of human life, and commonly have a greater share than others. But they sow in tears; they do the duty of an afflicted state. Weeping must not hinder sowing; we must get good from times of affliction. And they that sow, in the tears of godly sorrow, to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting; and that will be a joyful harvest indeed. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be for ever comforted. When we mourn for our sins, or suffer for Christ's sake, we are sowing in tears, to reap in joy. And remember that God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that shall he reap, Galatians 6:7-9. Here, O disciple of Jesus, behold an emblem of thy present labor and future reward; the day is coming when thou shalt reap in joy, plentiful shall be thy harvest, and great shall be thy joy in the Lord.


From the Prophetic Books
Isaiah 35:3-7
God’s Advent will Change Everything

3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
     steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
     “Be strong, do not fear;
  your God will come,
     he will come with vengeance;
  with divine retribution
     he will come to save you.”

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
     and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
     and the mute tongue shout for joy.
  Water will gush forth in the wilderness
     and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
     the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
  In the haunts where jackals once lay,
     grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.


Commentary

Verses 3-4: The feeble and fainthearted are encouraged. This is the design of the gospel. Fear is weakening; the more we strive against it, the stronger we are, both for doing and suffering; and he that says to us, Be strong, has laid help for us upon One who is mighty. Assurance is given of the approach of Messiah, to take vengeance on the powers of darkness, to recompense with abundant comforts those that mourn in Zion; He will come and save. He will come again at the end of time, to punish those who have troubled his people; and to give those who were troubled such rest as will be a full reward for all their troubles.

Verses 5-7: When Christ shall come to set up his kingdom in the world, then wonders, great wonders, shall be wrought on men's souls. By the word and Spirit of Christ, the spiritually blind were enlightened; and those deaf to the calls of God were made to hear them readily. Those unable to do any thing good, by Divine grace were made active therein. Those that knew not how to speak of God or to God, had their lips opened to show forth his praise. When the Holy Ghost came upon the Gentiles that heard the word, then were the fountains of life opened. Most of the earth is still a desert; neither means of grace, spiritual worshipers, nor fruits of holiness, are to be found in it. But the way of religion and godliness shall be laid open.


From the Gospels
Luke 7:18-30
John the Baptist Questions Jesus

7:18 John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”

21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way before you.’
28
I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

Commentary

To his miracles in the kingdom of nature, Christ adds this in the kingdom of grace, To the poor the gospel is preached. It clearly pointed out the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, that the messenger he sent before him to prepare his way, did it by preaching repentance and reformation of heart and life.


Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. 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. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Wednesday, December 8, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Wednesday, December 8, 2021


And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
Luke 18:7–8, NIV


Father in heaven, we surrender ourselves to your love, the love in which Christ comes to us. Like children we say every day to the Lord Jesus himself, "Lord Jesus, come, come! Even if we cannot see you today because times have changed, come into the world, come more and more into world history. Send more and more of your nature, your goodness, into all hearts. Come at last, come quickly to bring an end to the adversary, an end to world power with its sinister, hostile character. May bright day, clear light from the Father in heaven, dawn through you, Lord Jesus. Yes, come, Lord Jesus!" Amen.

Verse of the Day for Wednesday, December 8, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Wednesday, December 8, 2021


John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The truth is very narrow—the only way someone can come to the Father is through Jesus, who lived a completely sinless life, in thought, word, and deed.

Read all of John Chapter 14

Listen to John Chapter 14


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — Stay Together

 

Stay Together

Keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

READ Ephesians 4:1–6

Dewberry Baptist Church split in the 1800s over a chicken leg. Various versions of the story exist, but the account told by a current member was that two men fought over the last drumstick at a church potluck. One man said God wanted him to have it. The other replied God didn’t care, and he really wanted it. The men became so furious that one moved a couple kilometers down the road and started Dewberry Baptist Church #2. Thankfully, the churches have settled their differences, and everyone concedes the reason for their split was ridiculous.

Jesus agrees. The night before His death Jesus prayed for His followers. May they “be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” May they “be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me” (John 17:21–23).

Paul agrees. He urges us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3–4), and these cannot be divided.

We who weep for Christ’s body broken for our sin must not tear apart His body, the church, with our anger, gossip, and cliques. Better to let ourselves be wronged than be guilty of the scandal of church division. Give the other guy the chicken leg—and some pie too!

By Mike Wittmer

REFLECT & PRAY

What have you done to contribute to the unity of your church? What else might you do?

Heavenly Father, help me do the best I can to be at peace with others. May I never separate what You’ve joined.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

From the humbling confinement of a Roman prison, Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers in Jesus on behalf of a Father, Son, and Spirit who’d begun to change his own heart and theirs (1:1–14; 2:1–10). In anticipation of a day in which all creation would be united under Christ (1:10), he painted word pictures of what it means to grow together into a mature body and sacred temple far bigger and better than ourselves (4:1–32). He described how much better everyday relationships can look when transformed by the crucified and resurrected Christ (5:1–6:9). Then, after having reminded them of their shared body, Spirit, Lord, faith, baptism, God, and Father (4:4–6), he urges them to resist a common enemy who wanted nothing more than to conquer and divide them (6:10–20).

Mart DeHaan

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Tuesday, December 7, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Psalm 126; Isaiah 19:18-25; 2 Peter 1:2-15
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction

In today’s lectionary readings, the Psalm originally spoke of the cultural and geographical restoration experienced (or expected) by those who had returned home from a prolonged exile. It delights the senses with its images of refreshment and sustenance. It reminds us that dreaming can offer a way to know who we are, why we suffer, and what we want for our future. We know not of any event in which prophecy of our reading in Isaiah can be thought to have its full accomplishment short of the conversion of Egypt to the faith of Christ, by the preaching of Mark the Evangelist, and the founding of many Christian churches there, which flourished for many ages. Out of the thick and threatening clouds of this prophecy, the sun of comfort here breaks forth, and it is the sun of righteousness. In our epistle reading, Peter encouraged his readers to apply themselves to acquiring the true knowledge of God and living out the life of faith with “all diligence,” so that they may “be found by [Jesus] in peace, spotless and blameless.” In our verse of the day, Jesus identifies himself as the fulfillment of resurrection hope and expectations.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
In Jesus’ “I am” statement—“I am the resurrection and the life”—he identified himself as the fulfillment of resurrection hope and expectations. The promise of resurrection and life is not to be found in some distant future event but is available in the person of Jesus. Final death (eternal separation from God) is an impossibility for those who put their faith in him. Physical death is the doorway to greater life with God.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 126
Prayer for Restoration

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
     we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
     our tongues with songs of joy.
  Then it was said among the nations,
     “The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
     and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
     like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
     will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
     carrying seed to sow,
  will return with songs of joy,
     carrying sheaves with them.


Commentary

Verses 1-3: It is good to observe how God's deliverances of the church are for us, that we may rejoice in them. And how ought redemption from the wrath to come, from the power of sin and of Satan, to be valued! The sinner convinced of his guilt and danger, when by looking to a crucified Savior he receives peace to his conscience, and power to break off his sins, often can scarcely believe that the prospect which opens to him is a reality.

Verses 4-6: The beginnings of mercies encourage us to pray for the completion of them. And while we are in this world there will be matter for prayer, even when we are most furnished with matter for praise. Suffering saints are often in tears; they share the calamities of human life, and commonly have a greater share than others. But they sow in tears; they do the duty of an afflicted state. Weeping must not hinder sowing; we must get good from times of affliction. And they that sow, in the tears of godly sorrow, to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting; and that will be a joyful harvest indeed. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be for ever comforted. When we mourn for our sins, or suffer for Christ's sake, we are sowing in tears, to reap in joy. And remember that God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that shall he reap, Galatians 6:7-9. Here, O disciple of Jesus, behold an emblem of thy present labor and future reward; the day is coming when thou shalt reap in joy, plentiful shall be thy harvest, and great shall be thy joy in the Lord.


From the Prophetic Books
Isaiah 19:18-25
All Nations shall Praise God

19:18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun.

19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

Commentary

The words, "In that day," do not always refer to the passage just before. At a time which was to come, the Egyptians shall speak the holy language, the Scripture language; not only understand it, but use it. Converting grace, by changing the heart, changes the language; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So many Jews shall come to Egypt, that they shall soon fill five cities. Where the sun was worshiped, a place infamous for idolatry, even there shall be a wonderful reformation. Christ, the great Altar, who sanctifies every gift, shall be owned, and the gospel sacrifices of prayer and praise shall be offered up. Let the brokenhearted and afflicted, whom the Lord has wounded, and thus taught to return to, and call upon him, take courage; for He will heal their souls, and turn their sorrowing supplications into joyful praises. The Gentile nations shall not only unite with each other in the gospel fold under Christ, the great Shepherd, but they shall all be united with the Jews. They shall be owned together by him; they shall all share in one and the same blessing. Meeting at the same throne of grace, and serving with each other in the same business of religion, should end all disputes, and unite the hearts of believers to each other in holy love.

From the Epistles
2 Peter 1:2-15
Living God’s Call

1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

Commentary

Verses 2-11: Faith unites the weak believer to Christ, as really as it does the strong one, and purifies the heart of one as truly as of another; and every sincere believer is by his faith justified in the sight of God. Faith works godliness, and produces effects which no other grace in the soul can do. In Christ all fullness dwells, and pardon, peace, grace, and knowledge, and new principles, are thus given through the Holy Spirit. The promises to those who are partakers of a Divine nature, will cause us to inquire whether we are really renewed in the spirit of our minds; let us turn all these promises into prayers for the transforming and purifying grace of the Holy Spirit. The believer must add knowledge to his virtue, increasing acquaintance with the whole truth and will of God. We must add temperance to knowledge; moderation about worldly things; and add to temperance, patience, or cheerful submission to the will of God. Tribulation works patience, whereby we bear all calamities and crosses with silence and submission. To patience we must add godliness: this includes the holy affections and dispositions found in the true worshiper of God; with tender affection to all fellow Christians, who are children of the same Father, servants of the same Master, members of the same family, travelers to the same country, heirs of the same inheritance. Wherefore let Christians labor to attain assurance of their calling, and of their election, by believing and well-doing; and thus carefully to endeavor, is a firm argument of the grace and mercy of God, upholding them so that they shall not utterly fall. Those who are diligent in the work of religion, shall have a triumphant entrance into that everlasting kingdom where Christ reigns, and they shall reign with him for ever and ever; and it is in the practice of every good work that we are to expect entrance to heaven.

Verses 12-15: We must be established in the belief of the truth, that we may not be shaken by every wind of doctrine; and especially in the truth necessary for us to know in our day, what belongs to our peace, and what is opposed in our time. The body is but a tabernacle, or tent, of the soul. It is a mean and movable dwelling. The nearness of death makes the apostle diligent in the business of life. Nothing can so give composure in the prospect, or in the hour, of death, as to know that we have faithfully and simply followed the Lord Jesus, and sought his glory. Those who fear the Lord, talk of his loving-kindness. This is the way to spread the knowledge of the Lord; and by the written word, they are enabled to do this.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. 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. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Tuesday, December 7, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Tuesday, December 7, 2021


In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Micah 4:1–2, NIV


Lord our God, we gather in your presence, coming from this world so full of suffering, grief, and misfortune that we could well be afraid. But we do not have to rely on this world. We can come to you, the almighty God. You are our Father, and no matter what may come, we remain your children and receive your blessing. So protect us in this present time. Even if a flood of evil seems about to break over us and our hearts are heavy, you will uphold us. You will strengthen us so that we can bear this time patiently, hoping in you and in what you do for all people, who are your people just as we are. May the praise of your name be in our hearts for ever and ever. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Tuesday, December 7, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Tuesday, December 7, 2021


John 11:25
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
In Jesus’ “I am” statement—“I am the resurrection and the life”—he identified himself as the fulfillment of resurrection hope and expectations. The promise of resurrection and life is not to be found in some distant future event but is available in the person of Jesus. Final death (eternal separation from God) is an impossibility for those who put their faith in him. Physical death is the doorway to greater life with God.

Read all of John Chapter 11

Listen to John Chapter 11


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — The Perfect Name

 

The Perfect Name

The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

READ Isaiah 7:10–17

On a hot and humid day one August, my wife gave birth to our second son. But he remained nameless as we struggled to settle on a given name. After spending many hours in ice cream shops and taking long car rides, we still couldn’t decide. He was simply “Baby Williams” for three days before finally being named Micah.

Choosing the right name can be a little frustrating. Well, unless you’re God, who came up with the perfect name for the One who would change things forever. Through the prophet Isaiah, God directed King Ahaz to ask Him “for a sign” to strengthen his faith (Isaiah 7:10–11). Though the king refused to ask for a sign, God gave him one anyway: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (v. 14). God named the child, and He would be a sign of hope to people going through despair. The name stuck and Matthew breathed new meaning into it when he wrote the narrative of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:23). Jesus would be “Immanuel.” He wouldn’t just be a representative of God, but He would be God in the flesh, coming to rescue His people from the despair of sin.

God gave us a sign. The sign is a Son. The Son’s name is Immanuel—God with us. It’s a name that reflects His presence and love. Today, He invites us to embrace Immanuel and know that He’s with us.

By Marvin Williams

REFLECT & PRAY

What keeps you from believing that God can breathe new life into your dark times and desperate circumstances? How will you embrace Jesus as Immanuel this week?

Heavenly Father, thank You for Immanuel—Jesus, Your Son. May I rejoice in His presence and love today.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The “Immanuel” prophecy of Isaiah 7 has long challenged scholars. In its immediate context, Isaiah 7 spoke to the Southern Kingdom of Judah as they were being threatened by an alliance of neighboring nations. In response to that danger, God sent Isaiah to remind Ahaz (Judah’s king) that God Himself was their safety and security (vv. 5–9). In that declaration, however, Isaiah presented the prophecy that has been seen for centuries as an anticipation of the coming of Jesus—the true and ultimate manifestation of Immanuel (“God with us”). This seems to be an example of an Old Testament figure (like David in Psalm 22) who is speaking into the story of his own day and time, but whose words are used by God to speak of a greater story—the story of Christ. It’s a small part of what makes the inspired Scriptures such a marvel.

Bill Crowder

Monday, December 6, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Monday, December 6, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Monday, December 6, 2021
Psalm 126; Isaiah 40:1-11; Romans 8:22-25
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction
In today’s lectionary readings, the Psalm originally spoke of the cultural and geographical restoration experienced (or expected) by those who had returned home from a prolonged exile. It delights the senses with its images of refreshment and sustenance. It reminds us that dreaming can offer a way to know who we are, why we suffer, and what we want for our future. Our reading in Isaiah foretells of moving earth. Entire valleys are filled in. The tops of lofty mountains are shaved off. Rough, washboard roads are graded smooth. All this to prepare the pathway for the Lord. The reading in Romans discusses the place suffering has in the lives of God’s people. The practical conclusion is that if we keep our eyes on the future promised glory, we can endure present sufferings with perseverance and hope. Jesus states in our verse of the day that He is the legitimate owner, protector and caregiver of the sheep. He is the Good Shepherd and knows His sheep, and they know Him.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
John 10:14-15

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
The Lord acts for our benefit and His glory. He feeds us what He knows will give us health. He makes us lie down when we need rest. He is the Great Shepherd.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 126
Prayer for Restoration

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
     we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
     our tongues with songs of joy.
  Then it was said among the nations,
     “The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
     and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
     like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
     will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
     carrying seed to sow,
  will return with songs of joy,
     carrying sheaves with them.


Commentary

Verses 1-3: It is good to observe how God's deliverances of the church are for us, that we may rejoice in them. And how ought redemption from the wrath to come, from the power of sin and of Satan, to be valued! The sinner convinced of his guilt and danger, when by looking to a crucified Savior he receives peace to his conscience, and power to break off his sins, often can scarcely believe that the prospect which opens to him is a reality.

Verses 4-6: The beginnings of mercies encourage us to pray for the completion of them. And while we are in this world there will be matter for prayer, even when we are most furnished with matter for praise. Suffering saints are often in tears; they share the calamities of human life, and commonly have a greater share than others. But they sow in tears; they do the duty of an afflicted state. Weeping must not hinder sowing; we must get good from times of affliction. And they that sow, in the tears of godly sorrow, to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting; and that will be a joyful harvest indeed. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be for ever comforted. When we mourn for our sins, or suffer for Christ's sake, we are sowing in tears, to reap in joy. And remember that God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that shall he reap, Galatians 6:7-9. Here, O disciple of Jesus, behold an emblem of thy present labor and future reward; the day is coming when thou shalt reap in joy, plentiful shall be thy harvest, and great shall be thy joy in the Lord.


From the Prophetic Books
Isaiah 40:1-11
The Earth Prepares for God

1 Comfort, comfort my people,
     says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
     and proclaim to her
  that her hard service has been completed,
     that her sin has been paid for,
  that she has received from the Lord’s hand
     double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one calling:
  “In the wilderness prepare
     the way for the Lord;
  make straight in the desert
     a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
     every mountain and hill made low;
  the rough ground shall become level,
     the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
     and all people will see it together.
  For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

6 A voice says, “Cry out.”
     And I said, “What shall I cry?”

  “All people are like grass,
     and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
     because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
     Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
     but the word of our God endures forever.”

9 You who bring good news to Zion,
     go up on a high mountain.
  You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
     lift up your voice with a shout,
  lift it up, do not be afraid;
     say to the towns of Judah,
     “Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
      and he rules with a mighty arm.
   See, his reward is with him,
      and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
      He gathers the lambs in his arms
   and carries them close to his heart;
      he gently leads those that have young.


Commentary

All human life is a warfare; the Christian life is the most so; but the struggle will not last always. Troubles are removed in love, when sin is pardoned. In the great atonement of the death of Christ, the mercy of God is exercised to the glory of his justice. In Christ, and his sufferings, true penitents receive of the Lord's hand double for all their sins; for the satisfaction Christ made by his death was of infinite value. The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the approach of Christ. When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hindrances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hindrance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and follow him, proving ourselves his sheep.

From the Epistles
Romans 8:22-25
All Creation Waits

8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Commentary

The sufferings of the saints strike no deeper than the things of time, last no longer than the present time, are light afflictions, and but for a moment. How vastly different are the sentence of the word and the sentiment of the world, concerning the sufferings of this present time! Indeed the whole creation seems to wait with earnest expectation for the period when the children of God shall be manifested in the glory prepared for them. There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which has come upon the creature by the fall of man. There is an enmity of one creature to another. And they are used, or abused rather, by men as instruments of sin. Yet this deplorable state of the creation is in hope. God will deliver it from thus being held in bondage to man's depravity. The miseries of the human race, through their own and each other's wickedness, declare that the world is not always to continue as it is. Our having received the first-fruits of the Spirit, quickens our desires, encourages our hopes, and raises our expectations. Sin has been, and is, the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the creation of God. It has brought on the woes of earth; it has kindled the flames of hell. As to man, not a tear has been shed, not a groan has been uttered, not a pang has been felt, in body or mind, that has not come from sin. This is not all; sin is to be looked at as it affects the glory of God. Of this how fearfully regardless are the bulk of mankind! Believers have been brought into a state of safety; but their comfort consists rather in hope than in enjoyment. From this hope they cannot be turned by the vain expectation of finding satisfaction in the things of time and sense. We need patience, our way is rough and long; but He that shall come, will come, though he seems to tarry.


Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. 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. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Monday, December 6, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Monday, December 6, 2021


“Come,” says the Holy Spirit and the Bride in divine duet. Let everyone who hears this duet join them in saying, “Come.” Let everyone gripped with spiritual thirst say, “Come.” And let everyone who craves the gift of living water come and drink it freely. “Come.”
Revelation 22:17, TPT


Lord our God and Father in heaven, be with us and let your face shine upon us, for we are your children. In the midst of all human planning we are your children who seek you alone, who seek your will, your kingdom, and everything you have promised to humankind. Fill our thoughts and feelings with your power so that our lives on earth may belong to you, so that with our whole will we may put every thing we have and are into your hands. For we want to be your children, to have one will with you, Almighty God. We want your kingdom. This is our will, O Lord our God, and it is your will too. Therefore it must come to pass, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Monday, December 6, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Monday, December 6, 2021


John 10:14-15
[Jesus said,] “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
The Lord acts for our benefit and His glory. He feeds us what He knows will give us health. He makes us lie down when we need rest. He is the Great Shepherd.

Read all of John Chapter 10

Listen to John Chapter 10


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — Cheerful Giver

 

Cheerful Giver

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

READ 2 Corinthians 9:6–15

Nicholas, who was born in the third century, had no idea that centuries after his death he would be known as Santa Claus. He was just a man who loved God and genuinely cared for people and who was known for giving cheerfully of his own possessions and doing kind deeds. The story is told that after learning of a family who was in great financial distress, Nicholas came to their home at night and threw a bag of gold through an open window, which landed in a shoe or stocking warming by the fireplace.

Long before Nicholas, the apostle Paul urged the believers in Corinth to be cheerful givers. He wrote to them about the great financial needs of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem and encouraged them to give generously. Paul explained to them the benefits and blessings that come to those who give of their possessions. He reminded them that “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6).  As a result of their cheerful generosity, they would be “enriched in every way” (v. 11), and God would be honored.

Father, would You help us to be cheerful givers not only during this Christmas season but all year long? Thank You for Your incredible generosity in giving us Your “indescribable gift,” Your Son, Jesus (v. 15).

By Estera Pirosca Escobar

REFLECT & PRAY

Where do you see a need you could help with this week? How could you give generously of your time or resources?

Thank You, giving God, for encouraging me to be generous because in Your economy, generosity will bring the giver and the receiver abundant blessings.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Second Corinthians 9:6–15 encourages giving by noting its benefits. However, the idea of “sow[ing] generously” in order to “reap generously” (v. 6) isn’t meant to inspire giving with the intention of having God bless us for our own gain. Instead, the objective is that when God blesses us for giving, rather than hoarding what we receive for ourselves, we in turn give more, so that our “generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (v. 11). When we choose to give, we’re to do so cheerfully (v. 7), for a cheerful giver reflects the generous heart of God.

Julie Schwab

Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, December 5, 2021

 

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Second Sunday of Advent
Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


The Candle of Peace

The second candle represents peace and is called the “Angel’s Candle.” The angels announced that Jesus came to bring peace–He came to bring people peace with God and with each other again. This candle represents peace and justice that the angels and Christ brings to the world. It also can represent purity.

Introduction & Theme

The exhortation to “prepare the way of the Lord” echoed in the ears of God’s people through the centuries and stands center stage in today’s readings from Malachi and Luke. Despite these urgings and warnings, the world was taken by surprise on the day that Christ appeared. John the Baptist was sent as a herald and a messenger to prepare for the Lord’s coming, and the Holy Spirit prepares a place in our hearts for the appearance of God’s love and presence in our lives. The passage from Philippians assures us that whether we’re ready or not, the one who started this amazing work will surely bring it to completion in each of us “for the glory and praise of God.”

Opening Prayer

We have prepared our homes, and our gifts, Lord, but we need help in preparing our spirits to receive your message of Peace. Free us from the stresses and strains of this time, and place your peace which passes all our understanding in our hearts. For we ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Call to Confession

Lord, hear us this day as we open our hearts and our spirits to you. These times in which we live are often confusing and fearful. We are pushed to make preparations for a season which is supposed to bring hope and peace; yet we crowd it with obligations and stresses and shut the door to your healing love and compassion. We find ourselves being on edge, fretful, wondering if we have done enough, can do enough. You answer our fears with your voice, "Peace, be still". Help us to hear you. Slow us down. Encourage us to take some time to listen rather than shout, to stop and rest rather than run. Cause us to look around at situations and people who are in need and to place our focus on helping them. For it is in helping your people and reaching out in love that we will find true peace. These things we pray, in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Be at peace. Know God's love is given for you.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
John 10:7, 9–10

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.… I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
There is only one door to heaven. Jesus is not one route among several to an intimate relationship with God, but the only way. Some may think, “That is very narrow-minded.” However, it was the greatest mind, the most profound wisdom, and the deepest thoughts that ever existed that implemented the plan of how you and I would be reconciled to God and have a home in heaven. The Lord, who created us is the One who decides how we can know Him—and that way is through Jesus Christ.

Do you know how Jesus gives us abundant life? He does so by giving us Himself! You could have all the money, relationships, wealth, and power, but you would still have a deep sense of emptiness because life isn’t found in these things. The only One who can truly satisfy you is Jesus Christ. To live the abundant Christian life is to allow Jesus to live His life through us. His love motivates and empowers us, so we obey Him out of joy and thankfulness.


Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Prophetic Books
Malachi 3:1-4
The Messenger Refines and Purifies

3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

Commentary

The first words of this chapter seem an answer to the scoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing of John the Baptist. He is Christ's harbinger. He shall prepare the way before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah had been long called, "He that should come," and now shortly he will come. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus, shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The Lord Jesus, prepares the sinner's heart to be his temple, by the ministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and he enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. No hypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand before his tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separate between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner. Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. He will take away the dross found in them. He will separate their corruptions, which render their faculties worthless and useless.

From the Gospels
Luke 1:68-79
God’s Tender Compassion

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
      because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
      in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
      and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
      and to remember his holy covenant,
73    the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
      and to enable us to serve him without fear
75    in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
      for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
      through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
      by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
      and in the shadow of death,
   to guide our feet into the path of peace.”


Commentary

Zacharias uttered a prophecy concerning the kingdom and salvation of the Messiah. The gospel brings light with it; in it the day dawns. In John the Baptist it began to break, and increased apace to the perfect day. The gospel is discovering; it shows that about which we were utterly in the dark; it is to give light to those that sit in darkness, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It is reviving; it brings light to those that sit in the shadow of death, as condemned prisoners in the dungeon. It is directing; it is to guide our feet in the way of peace, into that way which will bring us to peace at last, Romans 3:17. John gave proofs of strong faith, vigorous and holy affections, and of being above the fear and love of the world. Thus he ripened for usefulness; but he lived a retired life, till he came forward openly as the forerunner of the Messiah. Let us follow peace with all men, as well as seek peace with God and our own consciences. And if it be the will of God that we live unknown to the world, still let us diligently seek to grow strong in the grace of Jesus Christ.

From the Epistles
Philippians 1:3-11
A Harvest of Righteousness

1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Commentary

Verses 3-7: At Philippi the apostle was evil entreated, and saw little fruit of his labor; yet he remembers Philippi with joy. We must thank our God for the graces and comforts, gifts and usefulness of others, as we receive the benefit, and God receives the glory. The work of grace will never be perfected till the day of Jesus Christ, the day of his appearance. But we may always be confident God will perform his good work, in every soul wherein he has really begun it by regeneration; though we must not trust in outward appearances, nor in any thing but a new creation to holiness. People are dear to their ministers, when they receive benefit by their ministry. Fellow-sufferers in the cause of God should be dear one to another.

Verses 8-11: Shall not we pity and love those souls whom Christ loves and pities? Those who abound in any grace, need to abound more. Try things which differ; that we may approve the things which are excellent. The truths and laws of Christ are excellent; and they recommend themselves as such to any attentive mind. Sincerity is that in which we should have our conversation in the world, and it is the glory of all our graces. Christians should not be apt to take offense, and should be very careful not to offend God or the brethren. The things which most honor God will most benefit us. Let us not leave it doubtful whether any good fruit is found in us or not. A small measure of Christian love, knowledge, and fruitfulness should not satisfy any.


Today’s Gospel Reading
Luke 3:1-6
Prepare the Way of the Lord

Luke 3:1-6

3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

  “A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
  ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
     make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in,
     every mountain and hill made low.
  The crooked roads shall become straight,
     the rough ways smooth.
6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

Commentary

The scope and design of John's ministry were, to bring the people from their sins, and to their Savior. He came preaching, not a sect, or party, but a profession; the sign or ceremony was washing with water. By the words here used John preached the necessity of repentance, in order to the remission of sins, and that the baptism of water was an outward sign of that inward cleansing and renewal of heart, which attend, or are the effects of true repentance, as well as a profession of it. Here is the fulfilling of the Scriptures, Isaiah 40:3, in the ministry of John. When way is made for the gospel into the heart, by taking down high thoughts, and bringing them into obedience to Christ, by leveling the soul, and removing all that hinders us in the way of Christ and his grace, then preparation is made to welcome the salvation of God.

Here end the Readings

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed
  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

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

Holy Communion
A nondenominational serving of bread and wine

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. This table is open to all who recognize Jesus Christ as healer and redeemer. This table is open to all who work to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. No one is turned away because of life circumstances. No one is barred from this table. No one seeking God’s abundant grace and mercy is turned aside. We see before us the abundance that a life of faith offers as we respond to God’s everlasting mercy in prayer and deed.

Benediction

As we await the coming of the Promised One, may your love and knowledge and insight overflow, that you may live in peace and harmony with all beings for the glory and praise of God. Amen.

An Advent Prayer of Peace
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Thank You for you caring for us, and thank You for promising to give us your peace. Please guard our hearts and minds with Your peace. You know the things that have been weighing us down with worry, anxiety, or fear. Lord, please help us fix our minds on you instead, and on your Spirit. Thank You for promising to bring us life and peace. We can lie down and sleep, Lord, because You make us safe. Amen.


Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. 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. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.