Monday, May 31, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Monday, May 31, 2021 — Memorial Day (USA)

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day

Psalm 20; Numbers 9:15-23; Revelation 4:1-8 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Life Lessons:
This amazing passage describes the moment when the Lord returns for His church—the dead in Christ will rise and receive their glorified bodies, and those who are alive will be gathered directly into His presence. This should not be confused with the Second Coming of the Lord, when Jesus stands upon the Mount of Olives and establishes His kingdom on earth (Matt. 25:31–46). The Rapture begins the wedding supper of the Lamb (Matt. 25:1–13), and the Second Coming takes place after the banquet has concluded (Rev. 19:7—20:15).  It is the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made in John 14:1–3, to prepare a place for us to be with Him forever. He is our faithful Bridegroom, and we can be sure that Christ will return to take us to our new, eternal, heavenly home—even if we do not know the exact moment He is coming (Matt. 25:1–13; Luke 12:35–44; Rev. 19:7–9; 21:9–27).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 20
The Name of God


1 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
     may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
     and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
     and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
     and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
     and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

  May the Lord grant all your requests.

6 Now this I know:
     The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
  He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
     with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
     but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
     but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
     Answer us when we call!


Commentary
Psalm 20 is a prayer on behalf of the king. It is paired with Psalm 21, another royal psalm, which gives thanks for answered prayer on behalf of the king; both psalms pick up on motifs from Psalm 18, another royal psalm: see vv. 6, 9; 18:50; 21:1, 5. The people pray for the king’s victory in battle (vv. 1–5), express trust that the Lord will give the victory (vv. 6–8), and conclude with a final petition for victory (v. 9).

Horse-drawn chariots were one of the primary weapons of warfare in the ancient Near East. Yet David knew that the determining factor of victory was not military might, but rather the name of God (v. 7). Having God on his side meant that the Israelites could “lift up [their] banners,” signifying triumph over their enemies (v. 5). This is the kind of confidence David had in God’s commitment to save “his anointed” (v. 6). Similarly, Jesus trusted in his Father to bring victory over sin and death by giving “his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). Consider Jesus’ admonishment of the disciples as they drew their swords to prevent his arrest: “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Mt 26:53). Jesus showed perfect confidence in his Father’s power when he forewarned his disciples of his death while encouraging them that “on the third day he [would] be raised to life” (Mt 20:19). Scripture teaches that God is able and willing to save (Zep 3:17). It is the reason why so much of his Word reminds his people that they need not fear, for the battle belongs to the Lord (Dt 31:6; Isa 41:10; Ro 8:15; Heb 13:5–6).


A Reading from the Pentateuch
Numbers 9:15-23
God in the Cloud and the Fire


9:15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

Commentary
This cloud was appointed to be the visible sign and symbol of God's presence with Israel. Thus we are taught to see God always near us, both night and day. As long as the cloud rested on the tabernacle, so long they continued in the same place. There is no time lost, while we are waiting God's time. When the cloud was taken up, they removed, however comfortably they were encamped. We are kept at uncertainty concerning the time of our putting off the earthly house of this tabernacle, that we may be always ready to remove at the command of the Lord. It is very safe and pleasant going when we see God before us, and resting where he appoints us to rest. The leading of this cloud is spoken of as signifying the guidance of the blessed Spirit. We are not now to expect such tokens of the Divine presence and guidance; but the promise is sure to all God's spiritual Israel, that he will guide them by his counsel. Psalms 73:24, even unto death, Psalms 48:14. All the children of God shall be led by the Spirit of God, Romans 8:14. He will direct the paths of those who in all their ways acknowledge him, Proverbs 3:6. At the commandment of the Lord, our hearts should always move and rest, saying, Father, thy will be done; dispose of me and mine as thou pleasest. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt; only let me be thine, and always in the way of my duty. In applying general precepts to particular circumstances, there should be good counsel and fervent prayer. When any undertaking is evidently wrong, or doubtfully right, and yet the mind leans that way, in such a case "the moving of the cloud," as men sometimes miscall it, is generally no more than a temptation Satan is permitted to propose; and men fancy they are following the Lord, when they are following their own wayward inclinations. The record of his mercy will conduct us with unerring truth, through Christ, to everlasting peace. Follow the pillar of the cloud and of fire. Lay the BIBLE to heart, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.


A Reading from the Apocalypse of John
Revelation 4:1-8
Heaven’s Holy Holy Holy


4:1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”


Commentary
After the Lord Jesus had instructed the apostle to write to the churches "the things that are," there was another vision. The apostle saw a throne set in heaven, an emblem of the universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the throne, not described by human features, so as to be represented by a likeness or image, but only by his surpassing brightness. These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and of God's awful justice. The rainbow is a fit emblem of that covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head of the church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing color was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing nature of the new covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing, probably, the whole church of God. Their sitting denotes honor, rest, and satisfaction; their sitting about the throne signifies nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They were clothed in white raiment; the imputed righteousness of the saints and their holiness: they had on their heads crowns of gold, signifying the glory they have with him. Lightnings and voices came from the throne; the awful declarations God makes to his church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne; the gifts, graces, and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ, dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits upon the throne. In the gospel church, the laver for purification is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin. In this all must be washed, to be admitted into the gracious presence of God on earth, and his glorious presence in heaven. The apostle saw four living creatures, between the throne and the circle of the elders, standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the true ministers of the gospel, because of their place between God and the people. This also is shown by the description given, denoting wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the affections by which they mount up toward heaven.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. 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, May 31, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Monday, May 31, 2021


As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

Lord our God, we want to find our joy in you and in all your promises to us. For you have promised that in the midst of all the pain and sorrow, you are preparing what pleases you and serves your honor in every heart. May we experience in our lives the fulfillment of many of your promises, so that again and again we can go forward joyfully, rising above difficult times and situations. Have mercy on us and protect us in your strength. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Monday, May 31, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Monday, May 31, 2021


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Life Lessons:
This amazing passage describes the moment when the Lord returns for His church—the dead in Christ will rise and receive their glorified bodies, and those who are alive will be gathered directly into His presence. This should not be confused with the Second Coming of the Lord, when Jesus stands upon the Mount of Olives and establishes His kingdom on earth (Matt. 25:31–46). The Rapture begins the wedding supper of the Lamb (Matt. 25:1–13), and the Second Coming takes place after the banquet has concluded (Rev. 19:7—20:15).  It is the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made in John 14:1–3, to prepare a place for us to be with Him forever. He is our faithful Bridegroom, and we can be sure that Christ will return to take us to our new, eternal, heavenly home—even if we do not know the exact moment He is coming (Matt. 25:1–13; Luke 12:35–44; Rev. 19:7–9; 21:9–27).

Read all of 1 Thessalonians 4

Listen to 1 Thessalonians 4


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Life Lessons from Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible Notes.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, May 30, 2021 — Trinity Sunday

 

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, May 30, 2021

Trinity Sunday
Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17 [18-21](NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Trinity

Opening Statement

All of our texts this Sunday speak of God in mysterious and ultimate terms. They speak of the God of power and splendor who conducts cosmic business in the lofty courts of heaven, who reveals truth through the sign-doer and riddle-maker Jesus, and who moves through the elusive Spirit Wind. What mystery! Our words—yes, even our Trinitarian stammering—buckle beneath the weight of transcendence our words attempt to convey. What majesty! And yet, each text also points to places in life where ultimate and unlimited reality brushes up against, and impinges upon, our limited lives for powerful,  lifechanging experiences. These experiences proclaim that we—the lowly, the enslaved, the woeful—are drawn into the cosmic story line of God’s immense life and intentions. Trinity Sunday is the Sunday to celebrate God as the mystery that shimmers in our lives.

Opening Prayer

God of majesty and power, how awesome you are to us! The mountains tremble, the seas roar at the sound of your name! Yet you have chosen to come to us in love and tenderness. You have called us to be people who will act in ways of peace and justice in your world. Open our hearts and our spirits, Lord, to hear your word, and having heard, to act in ministries of hope and peace for all your earth. These things we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

We are so like Nicodemus, Lord. We come to you, hiding in the shadows of our own fears and terrors. We want you to give us peace and hope in our hearts. We want to know that everything will be all right; that the world will cease to be a place of terror and war. We want to be born again in a spirit of hope. But when we come it is for our own sake, and not to learn what you would have us be and do in this world. Forgive our selfishness, Lord. Calm our fears and heal our spirits. Let us truly listen to you so that we may be witnesses to your peace and justice which you seek for the world. Saturate us with your light and wisdom. Empower us to be those who bring peace, which is not only an absence of war, but peace which promotes an attitude of love. Clear away the clutter in our lives and place us on paths of service to you. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance

God’s love of the world is so great that God sent Jesus that we may truly live lives of peace and hope. Listen with your hearts as well as your ears. God’s love is poured out for you that you may have new life in service and witness. Praise be to God.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Life Lessons:
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, we are encouraged, “Do not fear” (Deut. 3:22; Joel 2:21; also Deut. 31:6; Ps. 56:4; Is. 35:4; 41:10, 13; Jer. 1:8; John 14:27). Why? Because the Lord can handle any problem or difficulty we could ever face, and He is committed to helping us as long as we obey Him. Regardless of our concern or worry, God wants us to bring it to Him. He always has our best interests at heart and will always help us become the people we are meant to be.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
A Reading from the Prophetic Books
Isaiah 6:1-8
Isaiah’s Vision and Call


6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”


Commentary
In this figurative vision, the temple is thrown open to view, even to the most holy place. The prophet, standing outside the temple, sees the Divine Presence seated on the mercy-seat, raised over the ark of the covenant, between the cherubim and seraphim, and the Divine glory filled the whole temple. See God upon his throne. This vision is explained, John 12:41, that Isaiah now saw Christ's glory, and spake of Him, which is a full proof that our Savior is God. In Christ Jesus, God is seated on a throne of grace; and through him the way into the holiest is laid open. See God's temple, his church on earth, filled with his glory. His train, the skirts of his robes, filled the temple, the whole world, for it is all God's temple. And yet he dwells in every contrite heart. See the blessed attendants by whom his government is served. Above the throne stood the holy angels, called seraphim, which means "burners;" they burn in love to God, and zeal for his glory against sin. The seraphim showing their faces veiled, declares that they are ready to yield obedience to all God's commands, though they do not understand the secret reasons of his counsels, government, or promises. All vain-glory, ambition, ignorance, and pride, would be done away by one view of Christ in his glory. This awful vision of the Divine Majesty overwhelmed the prophet with a sense of his own vileness. We are undone if there is not a Mediator between us and this holy God. A glimpse of heavenly glory is enough to convince us that all our righteousness are as filthy rags. Nor is there a man that would dare to speak to the Lord, if he saw the justice, holiness, and majesty of God, without discerning his glorious mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. The live coal may denote the assurance given to the prophet, of pardon, and acceptance in his work, through the atonement of Christ. Nothing is powerful to cleanse and comfort the soul, but what is taken from Christ's satisfaction and intercession. The taking away sin is necessary to our speaking with confidence and comfort, either to God in prayer, or from God in preaching; and those shall have their sin taken away who complain of it as a burden, and see themselves in danger of being undone by it. It is great comfort to those whom God sends, that they go for God, and may therefore speak in his name, assured that he will bear them out.


From the Psalter
Psalm 29
Worship God in Holiness


1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
     ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
     worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
     the God of glory thunders,
     the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
     the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
     the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
     Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
     with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
     the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
     and strips the forests bare.
  And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
     the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
     the Lord blesses his people with peace.


Commentary
Praise to God for deliverance. (1-5) Others encouraged by his example. (6-12) #1-5. The great things the Lord has done for us, both by his providence and by his grace, bind us in gratitude to do all we can to advance his kingdom among men, though the most we can do is but little. God's saints in heaven sing to him; why should not those on earth do the same? Not one of all God's perfections carries in it more terror to the wicked, or more comfort to the godly, than his holiness. It is a good sign that we are in some measure partakers of his holiness, if we can heartily rejoice at the remembrance of it. Our happiness is bound up in the Divine favor; if we have that, we have enough, whatever else we want; but as long as God's anger continues, so long the saints' weeping continues.


A Reading from Paul's Epistle to the Romans
Romans 8:12-17
Living by the Spirit


8:12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Commentary
If the Spirit be in us, Christ is in us. He dwells in the heart by faith. Grace in the soul is its new nature; the soul is alive to God, and has begun its holy happiness which shall endure for ever. The righteousness of Christ imputed, secures the soul, the better part, from death. From hence we see how much it is our duty to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If any habitually live according to corrupt lustings, they will certainly perish in their sins, whatever they profess. And what can a worldly life present, worthy for a moment to be put against this noble prize of our high calling? Let us then, by the Spirit, endeavor more and more to mortify the flesh. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit brings a new and Divine life to the soul, though in a feeble state. And the sons of God have the Spirit to work in them the disposition of children; they have not the spirit of bondage, which the Old Testament church was under, through the darkness of that dispensation. The Spirit of adoption was not then plentifully poured out. Also it refers to that spirit of bondage, under which many saints were at their conversion. Many speak peace to themselves, to whom God does not speak peace. But those who are sanctified, have God's Spirit witnessing with their spirits, in and by his speaking peace to the soul. Though we may now seem to be losers for Christ, we shall not, we cannot, be losers by him in the end.


Today’s Gospel Reading
John 3:1-17 [18-21]
Entering the Reign of God

John 3:1-21

3:1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
 
[18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.]

Commentary
Nicodemus was afraid, or ashamed to be seen with Christ, therefore came in the night. When religion is out of fashion, there are many Nicodemites. But though he came by night, Jesus bid him welcome, and hereby taught us to encourage good beginnings, although weak. And though now he came by night, yet afterward he owned Christ publicly. He did not talk with Christ about state affairs, though he was a ruler, but about the concerns of his own soul and its salvation, and went at once to them. Our Savior spoke of the necessity and nature of regeneration or the new birth, and at once directed Nicodemus to the source of holiness of the heart. Birth is the beginning of life; to be born again, is to begin to live anew, as those who have lived much amiss, or to little purpose. We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, new aims. By our first birth we were corrupt, shapen in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures. No stronger expression could have been chosen to signify a great and most remarkable change of state and character. We must be entirely different from what we were before, as that which begins to be at any time, is not, and cannot be the same with that which was before. This new birth is from heaven, ch. John 1:13, and its tendency is to heaven. It is a great change made in the heart of a sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It means that something is done in us, and for us, which we cannot do for ourselves. Something is wrong, whereby such a life begins as shall last for ever. We cannot otherwise expect any benefit by Christ; it is necessary to our happiness here and hereafter. What Christ speak, Nicodemus misunderstood, as if there had been no other way of regenerating and new-molding an immortal soul, than by new-framing the body. But he acknowledged his ignorance, which shows a desire to be better informed. It is then further explained by the Lord Jesus. He shows the Author of this blessed change. It is not wrought by any wisdom or power of our own, but by the power of the blessed Spirit. We are shapen in iniquity, which makes it necessary that our nature be changed. We are not to marvel at this; for, when we consider the holiness of God, the depravity of our nature, and the happiness set before us, we shall not think it strange that so much stress is laid upon this. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is compared to water. It is also probable that Christ had reference to the ordinance of baptism. Not that all those, and those only, that are baptized, are saved; but without that new birth which is wrought by the Spirit, and signified by baptism, none shall be subjects of the kingdom of heaven. The same word signifies both the wind and the Spirit. The wind bloweth where it listeth for us; God directs it. The Spirit sends his influences where, and when, on whom, and in what measure and degree, he pleases. Though the causes are hidden, the effects are plain, when the soul is brought to mourn for sin, and to breathe after Christ. Christ's stating of the doctrine and the necessity of regeneration, it should seem, made it not clearer to Nicodemus. Thus the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man. Many think that cannot be proved, which they cannot believe. Christ's discourse of gospel truths, ver. John 3:11-13, shows the folly of those who make these things strange unto them; and it recommends us to search them out. Jesus Christ is every way able to reveal the will of God to us; for he came down from heaven, and yet is in heaven. We have here a notice of Christ's two distinct natures in one person, so that while he is the Son of man, yet he is in heaven. God is the "HE THAT IS," and heaven is the dwelling-place of his holiness. The knowledge of this must be from above, and can be received by faith alone. Jesus Christ came to save us by healing us, as the children of Israel, stung with fiery serpents, were cured and lived by looking up to the brazen serpent, Numbers 21:6-9. In this observe the deadly and destructive nature of sin. Ask awakened consciences, ask damned sinners, they will tell you, that how charming soever the allurements of sin may be, at the last it bites like a serpent. See the powerful remedy against this fatal malady. Christ is plainly set forth to us in the gospel. He whom we offended is our Peace, and the way of applying for a cure is by believing. If any so far slight either their disease by sin, or the method of cure by Christ, as not to receive Christ upon his own terms, their ruin is upon their own heads. He has said, Look and be saved, look and live; lift up the eyes of your faith to Christ crucified. And until we have grace to do this, we shall not be cured, but still are wounded with the stings of Satan, and in a dying state. Jesus Christ came to save us by pardoning us, that we might not die by the sentence of the law. Here is gospel, good news indeed. Here is God's love in giving his Son for the world. God so loved the world; so really, so richly. Behold and wonder, that the great God should love such a worthless world! Here, also, is the great gospel duty, to believe in Jesus Christ. God having given him to be our Prophet, Priest, and King, we must give up ourselves to be ruled, and taught, and saved by him. And here is the great gospel benefit, that whoever believes in Christ, shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and so saving it. It could not be saved, but through him; there is no salvation in any other. From all this is shown the happiness of true believers; he that believeth in Christ is not condemned. Though he has been a great sinner, yet he is not dealt with according to what his sins deserve. How great is the sin of unbelievers! God sent One to save us, that was dearest to himself; and shall he not be dearest to us? How great is the misery of unbelievers! they are condemned already; which speaks a certain condemnation; a present condemnation. The wrath of God now fastens upon them; and their own hearts condemn them. There is also a condemnation grounded on their former guilt; they are open to the law for all their sins; because they are not by faith interested in the gospel pardon. Unbelief is a sin against the remedy. It springs from the enmity of the heart of man to God, from love of sin in some form. Read also the doom of those that would not know Christ. Sinful works are works of darkness. The wicked world keep as far from this light as they can, lest their deeds should be reproved. Christ is hated, because sin is loved. If they had not hated saving knowledge, they would not sit down contentedly in condemning ignorance. On the other hand, renewed hearts bid this light welcome. A good man acts truly and sincerely in all he does. He desires to know what the will of God is, and to do it, though against his own worldly interest. A change in his whole character and conduct has taken place. The love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost, and is become the commanding principle of his actions. So long as he continues under a load of unforgiven guilt, there can be little else than slavish fear of God; but when his doubts are done away, when he sees the righteous ground whereon this forgiveness is built, he rests on it as his own, and is united to God by unfeigned love. Our works are good when the will of God is the rule of them, and the glory of God the end of them; when they are done in his strength, and for his sake; to him, and not to men. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a subject to which the world is very averse; it is, however, the grand concern, in comparison with which every thing else is but trifling. What does it signify though we have food to eat in plenty, and variety of raiment to put on, if we are not born again? if after a few mornings and evenings spent in unthinking mirth, carnal pleasure, and riot, we die in our sins, and lie down in sorrow? What does it signify though we are well able to act our parts in life, in every other respect, if at last we hear from the Supreme Judge, "Depart from me, I know you not, ye workers of iniquity?"


Here end the Readings

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


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.

Benediction

God of infinite patience, loving presence, and dazzling surprises, be with us today. Guide and guard our lives and bless our witness to your love. We go in peace seeking ministries of justice and hope. Amen.

Doxology

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. 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 Sunday, May 30, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Sunday, May 30, 2021


Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
Psalm 103:1–3 (NIV)

Lord our God, O Holy One, we thank you that we may lay aside our own nature and be lifted in spirit above all that is temporal and human and have joy in you. In spite of all the evil surrounding us, in spite of the thousandfold misery of humankind, we may still rejoice in you, in all you do and will yet do for us. Grant that we may go on rejoicing, having joy together, helping instead of burdening each other, until this earth is filled with the jubilation of those you have so richly blest. Forgive us all our sins. Heal us in mind and body. Deliver us from all the corruption that tries to take hold of our souls. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Sunday, May 30, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Sunday, May 30, 2021

Psalm 56:4
In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Life Lessons:
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, we are encouraged, “Do not fear” (Deut. 3:22; Joel 2:21; also Deut. 31:6; Ps. 56:4; Is. 35:4; 41:10, 13; Jer. 1:8; John 14:27). Why? Because the Lord can handle any problem or difficulty we could ever face, and He is committed to helping us as long as we obey Him. Regardless of our concern or worry, God wants us to bring it to Him. He always has our best interests at heart and will always help us become the people we are meant to be.

Read all of Psalm 56

Listen to Psalm 56


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Life Lessons from Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible Notes.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Saturday, May 29, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Saturday, May 29, 2021

Concerning God’s People
Psalm 29; Isaiah 5:15-24; John 15:18-20, 26-27 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Life Lessons:
As David drew close to death, he passed on the most important principle of his life to his son, Solomon—obey God. There is nothing more important for us to teach our children and encourage those around us to do than to submit to the Lord, walk in His ways, and trust His mighty hand (Heb. 3:13). It is through obedience that we know Him and enjoy His marvelous blessings (Ps. 103).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 29
Worship God in Holiness


1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
     ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
     worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
     the God of glory thunders,
     the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
     the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
     the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
     Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
     with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
     the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
     and strips the forests bare.
  And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
     the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
     the Lord blesses his people with peace.


Commentary
Praise to God for deliverance. (1-5) Others encouraged by his example. (6-12) #1-5. The great things the Lord has done for us, both by his providence and by his grace, bind us in gratitude to do all we can to advance his kingdom among men, though the most we can do is but little. God's saints in heaven sing to him; why should not those on earth do the same? Not one of all God's perfections carries in it more terror to the wicked, or more comfort to the godly, than his holiness. It is a good sign that we are in some measure partakers of his holiness, if we can heartily rejoice at the remembrance of it. Our happiness is bound up in the Divine favor; if we have that, we have enough, whatever else we want; but as long as God's anger continues, so long the saints' weeping continues.


A Reading from the Prophetic Books
Isaiah 5:15-24
A Vision Concerning God’s People


15 So people will be brought low
      and everyone humbled,
      the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
      and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.
17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;
      lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.

18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
      and wickedness as with cart ropes,
19 to those who say, “Let God hurry;
      let him hasten his work
      so we may see it.
   The plan of the Holy One of Israel—
      let it approach, let it come into view,
      so we may know it.”

20 Woe to those who call evil good
      and good evil,
   who put darkness for light
      and light for darkness,
   who put bitter for sweet
      and sweet for bitter.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
      and clever in their own sight.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
      and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
      but deny justice to the innocent.
24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
      and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
   so their roots will decay
      and their flowers blow away like dust;
   for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty
      and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.


Commentary
Let a man be ever so high, death will bring him low; ever so mean, death will bring him lower. The fruit of these judgments shall be, that God will be glorified as a God of power. Also, as a God that is holy; he shall be owned and declared to be so, in the righteous punishment of proud men. Those are in a woeful condition who set up sin, and who exert themselves to gratify their base lusts. They are daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts; it is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel. They confound and overthrow distinctions between good and evil. They prefer their own reasonings to Divine revelations; their own devices to the counsels and commands of God. They deem it prudent and politic to continue profitable sins, and to neglect self-denying duties. Also, how light soever men make of drunkenness, it is a sin which lays open to the wrath and curse of God. Their judges perverted justice. Every sin needs some other to conceal it. Let not any expect to live easily who live wickedly. Sin weakens the strength, the root of a people; it defaces the beauty, the blossoms of a people.


A Reading from the Gospels
John 15:18-20, 26-27
Testify in the Face of Persecution


15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.


Commentary
How little do many persons think, that in opposing the doctrine of Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, they prove themselves ignorant of the one living and true God, whom they profess to worship! The name into which Christ's disciples were baptized, is that which they will live and die by. It is a comfort to the greatest sufferers, if they suffer for Christ's name's sake. The world's ignorance is the true cause of its hatred to the disciples of Jesus. The clearer and fuller the discoveries of the grace and truth of Christ, the greater is our sin if we do not love him and believe in him. The blessed Spirit will maintain the cause of Christ in the world, notwithstanding the opposition it meets with. Believers taught and encouraged by his influences, would bear testimony to Christ and his salvation.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. 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 Saturday, May 29, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Saturday, May 29, 2021


But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in offenses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!—and he raised us up together with him and seated us together with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Lord our God, we thank you for allowing us to experience your power. We thank you that we need not be occupied with material things only. We thank you that your Spirit comes to our aid again and again. Grant that we may continue to have your help, and let many hearts find what a grace it is that in spirit we may walk in heaven even during this transitory life with all its foolish ways. We may say with complete assurance that everything tormenting and burdening will pass by. It passes by, and we go joyfully and confidently toward your kingdom, which continually gains in power. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Saturday, May 29, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Saturday, May 29, 2021


Psalm 103:17-18
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
Life Lessons:
As David drew close to death, he passed on the most important principle of his life to his son, Solomon—obey God. There is nothing more important for us to teach our children and encourage those around us to do than to submit to the Lord, walk in His ways, and trust His mighty hand (Heb. 3:13). It is through obedience that we know Him and enjoy His marvelous blessings (Ps. 103).

Read all of Psalm 103

Listen to Psalm 103


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Life Lessons from Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible Notes.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Friday, May 28, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Friday, May 28, 2021

The Spirit of God Dwells in You
Psalm 29; Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 8:9-11 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Life Lessons:
Both rejoicing and mourning imply genuine, heartfelt emotion. This kind of keenly felt connection happens only when we choose to invest ourselves deeply in the lives of other believers.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 29
Worship God in Holiness


1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
     ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
     worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
     the God of glory thunders,
     the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
     the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
     the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
     Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
     with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
     the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
     and strips the forests bare.
  And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
     the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
     the Lord blesses his people with peace.


Commentary
Praise to God for deliverance. (1-5) Others encouraged by his example. (6-12) #1-5. The great things the Lord has done for us, both by his providence and by his grace, bind us in gratitude to do all we can to advance his kingdom among men, though the most we can do is but little. God's saints in heaven sing to him; why should not those on earth do the same? Not one of all God's perfections carries in it more terror to the wicked, or more comfort to the godly, than his holiness. It is a good sign that we are in some measure partakers of his holiness, if we can heartily rejoice at the remembrance of it. Our happiness is bound up in the Divine favor; if we have that, we have enough, whatever else we want; but as long as God's anger continues, so long the saints' weeping continues.


A Reading from the Prophetic Books
Isaiah 2:1-5
A Vision Concerning God’s People


2:1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2 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 all nations will stream to it.

3 Many peoples 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.
4 He will judge between the nations
     and will settle disputes for many peoples.
  They will beat their swords into plowshares
     and their spears into pruning hooks.
  Nation will not take up sword against nation,
     nor will they train for war anymore.

5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
     let us walk in the light of the Lord.


Commentary
The calling of the Gentiles, the spread of the gospel, and that far more extensive preaching of it yet to come, are foretold. Let Christians strengthen one another, and support one another. It is God who teaches his people, by his word and Spirit. Christ promotes peace, as well as holiness. If all men were real Christians, there could be no war; but nothing answering to these expressions has yet taken place on the earth. Whatever others do, let us walk in the light of this peace. Let us remember that when true religion flourishes, men delight in going up to the house of the Lord, and in urging others to accompany them.


A Reading from Paul's Epistle to the Romans
Romans 8:9-11
The Spirit Dwells in You


8:9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Commentary
We may know our real state and character by inquiring whether we have the Spirit of God and Christ, or not, ver. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Having the Spirit of Christ, means having a turn of mind in some degree like the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and is to be shown by a life and conversation suitable to his precepts and example. If the Spirit be in us, Christ is in us. He dwells in the heart by faith. Grace in the soul is its new nature; the soul is alive to God, and has begun its holy happiness which shall endure for ever. The righteousness of Christ imputed, secures the soul, the better part, from death.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. 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 Friday, May 28, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Friday, May 28, 2021


You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that we may be your children. We thank you that through your Spirit our hearts may know that we are your children. Even when everything around us becomes difficult and we are hemmed in by darkness, we remain your children. Even when we often do not see how we are to go on and everything seems to be taken from us, we remain your children. Even when sin and death surround us and accuse us of being in the wrong, we still remain your children. As your children we entrust ourselves to your hands. In our whole life, in all our work and activity, we dwell in what has come from you, and we rejoice in Christ our Savior. Amen.