Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Saturday, July 31, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Psalm 51:1-12; Judges 6:1-10; Matthew 16:5-12
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction

In today’s lectionary readings, David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. From the Prophets, we read when the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, he gave them into the hands of the Midianites for worshipping Baal. When they cried to God for a deliverer, he sent them a prophet to teach them. In our gospel reading, Jesus talks about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. In our verse of the day, for those who believe in Jesus’ name, God gave them the right to become children of God.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
John 1:12-13

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Fallen human beings are not children of God by nature; this is the privilege only of those who have faith, a faith generated in them by the sovereign action of God.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 51:1-12
Create in me a Clean Heart


1 Have mercy on me, O God,
     according to your unfailing love;
  according to your great compassion
     blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
     and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
     and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
     and done what is evil in your sight;
  so you are right in your verdict
     and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
     sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
     you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
     wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
     let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
     and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
      and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
      or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
      and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.


Commentary
Verses 1-6: David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. Whither should backsliding children return, but to the Lord their God, who alone can heal them? he drew up, by Divine teaching, an account of the workings of his heart toward God. Those that truly repent of their sins, will not be ashamed to own their repentance. Also, he instructs others what to do, and what to say. David had not only done much, but suffered much in the cause of God; yet he flees to God's infinite mercy, and depends upon that alone for pardon and peace. He begs the pardon of sin. The blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, blots out the transgression, and, having reconciled us to God, reconciles us to ourselves. The believer longs to have the whole debt of his sins blotted out, and every stain cleansed; he would be thoroughly washed from all his sins; but the hypocrite always has some secret reserve, and would have some favorite lust spared. David had such a deep sense of his sin, that he was continually thinking of it, with sorrow and shame. His sin was committed against God, whose truth we deny by wilful sin; with him we deal deceitfully. And the truly penitent will ever trace back the streams of actual sin to the fountain of original depravity. He confesses his original corruption. This is that foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child, that proneness to evil, and that backwardness to good, which is the burden of the regenerate, and the ruin of the unregenerate. He is encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would graciously accept him. Thou desirest truth in the inward part; to this God looks, in a returning sinner. Where there is truth, God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavor to do their duty shall be taught their duty; but they will expect good only from Divine grace overcoming their corrupt nature.

Verses 7-12: Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Hebrews 12:24. If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Hebrews 10:2. He asks not to be comforted, till he is first cleansed; if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith, Let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun. And the believer desires renewal to holiness as much as the joy of salvation. David now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it; but he sees it is not in his own power to amend it, and therefore begs God would create in him a clean heart. When the sinner feels this change is necessary, and reads the promise of God to that purpose, he begins to ask it. He knew he had by his sin grieved the Holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw. This he dreads more than anything. He prays that Divine comforts may be restored to him. When we give ourselves cause to doubt our interest in salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? This had made him weak; he prays, I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, therefore uphold me with thy Spirit. Thy Spirit is a free Spirit, a free Agent himself, working freely. And the more cheerful we are in our duty, the more constant we shall be to it. What is this but the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, which is contrasted with the yoke of bondage? Galatians 5:1. It is the Spirit of adoption spoken to the heart.


From the Book of the Prophets
Judges 6:1-10
A Prophet Warns Israel


6:1 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.

7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

Commentary
Verses 1-6: Israel's sin was renewed, and Israel's troubles were repeated. Let all that sin expect to suffer. The Israelites hid themselves in dens and caves; such was the effect of a guilty conscience. Sin dispirits men. The invaders left no food for Israel, except what was taken into the caves. They prepared that for Baal with which God should have been served, now God justly sends an enemy to take it away in the season thereof.

Verses 7-10: They cried to God for a deliverer, and he sent them a prophet to teach them. When God furnishes a land with faithful ministers, it is a token that he has mercy in store for it. He charges them with rebellion against the Lord; he intends to bring them to repentance. Repentance is real when the sinfulness of sin, as disobedience to God, is chiefly lamented.


From the Gospels
Matthew 16:5-12
Bread as a Sign of Other Things


16:5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Commentary
Christ speaks of spiritual things under a similitude, and the disciples misunderstand him of carnal things. He took it ill that they should think him as thoughtful about bread as they were; that they should be so little acquainted with his way of preaching. Then understood they what he meant. Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.


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, July 31, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Saturday, July 31, 2021


Many, Lord, are asking, "Who will bring us prosperity?" Let the light of your face shine on us (Psalm 4:6, NIV).

Lord our God, with all our hearts we come before your countenance. Our hearts shall always be in your presence, asking, longing, and believing that you will guide our affairs aright. Protect us, for you are our God and Father. Protect all who are in danger or who must go into danger. Make known your great love and your living presence to the hearts of the dying. Draw our hearts together so that we may have community in you, our faith and hope set on you alone. Protect us during the night, and help us to be at peace about all our concerns because they are in your hands. Every concern of every person is in your hands. We ourselves are in your hands, Lord God, our Father, and there we want to remain. Your hands can heal and restore everything. Praised be your name! Amen.

Verse of the Day for Saturday, July 31, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Saturday, July 31, 2021


John 1:12-13
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Fallen human beings are not children of God by nature; this is the privilege only of those who have faith, a faith generated in them by the sovereign action of God.

Read all of John chapter 1

Listen to John chapter 1


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

Friday, July 30, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Friday, July 30, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Friday, July 30, 2021
Psalm 51:1-12; Joshua 23:1-16; 1 Corinthians 11:27-34
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction

In today’s lectionary readings, David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. From the Prophets, Joshua gives his farewell address to the nation of Israel before he dies. In our epistle reading, Paul warns of taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. In our verse of the day, Christians are the light of the world.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Matthew 5:14

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
We were never meant to shut ourselves off completely from unbelievers; we are to be a light to them (Matt. 5:14–16). We must always lead others to Him, and by our conduct and testimony glorify Him.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 51:1-12
Create in me a Clean Heart


1 Have mercy on me, O God,
     according to your unfailing love;
  according to your great compassion
     blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
     and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
     and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
     and done what is evil in your sight;
  so you are right in your verdict
     and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
     sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
     you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
     wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
     let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
     and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
      and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
      or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
      and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.


Commentary
Verses 1-6: David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. Whither should backsliding children return, but to the Lord their God, who alone can heal them? he drew up, by Divine teaching, an account of the workings of his heart toward God. Those that truly repent of their sins, will not be ashamed to own their repentance. Also, he instructs others what to do, and what to say. David had not only done much, but suffered much in the cause of God; yet he flees to God's infinite mercy, and depends upon that alone for pardon and peace. He begs the pardon of sin. The blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, blots out the transgression, and, having reconciled us to God, reconciles us to ourselves. The believer longs to have the whole debt of his sins blotted out, and every stain cleansed; he would be thoroughly washed from all his sins; but the hypocrite always has some secret reserve, and would have some favorite lust spared. David had such a deep sense of his sin, that he was continually thinking of it, with sorrow and shame. His sin was committed against God, whose truth we deny by wilful sin; with him we deal deceitfully. And the truly penitent will ever trace back the streams of actual sin to the fountain of original depravity. He confesses his original corruption. This is that foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child, that proneness to evil, and that backwardness to good, which is the burden of the regenerate, and the ruin of the unregenerate. He is encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would graciously accept him. Thou desirest truth in the inward part; to this God looks, in a returning sinner. Where there is truth, God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavor to do their duty shall be taught their duty; but they will expect good only from Divine grace overcoming their corrupt nature.

Verses 7-12: Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Hebrews 12:24. If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Hebrews 10:2. He asks not to be comforted, till he is first cleansed; if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith, Let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun. And the believer desires renewal to holiness as much as the joy of salvation. David now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it; but he sees it is not in his own power to amend it, and therefore begs God would create in him a clean heart. When the sinner feels this change is necessary, and reads the promise of God to that purpose, he begins to ask it. He knew he had by his sin grieved the Holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw. This he dreads more than anything. He prays that Divine comforts may be restored to him. When we give ourselves cause to doubt our interest in salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? This had made him weak; he prays, I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, therefore uphold me with thy Spirit. Thy Spirit is a free Spirit, a free Agent himself, working freely. And the more cheerful we are in our duty, the more constant we shall be to it. What is this but the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, which is contrasted with the yoke of bondage? Galatians 5:1. It is the Spirit of adoption spoken to the heart.


From the Book of the Prophets
Joshua 23:1-16
The Mighty Acts of God


23:1 After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, 2 summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. 3 You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. 4 Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 The Lord your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.

6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

9 “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.

12 “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13 then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.

14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 15 But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the Lord your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”

Commentary
Verses 1-10: Joshua was old and dying, let them observe what he said now. He put them in mind of the great things God had done for them in his days. He exhorted them to be very courageous. Keep with care, do with diligence, and regard with sincerity what is written. Also, very cautiously to endeavor that the heathen idolatry may be forgotten, so that it may never be revived. It is sad that among Christians the names of the heathen gods are so commonly used, and made so familiar as they are. Joshua exhorts them to be very constant. There might be many things amiss among them, but they had not forsaken the Lord their God; the way to make people better, is to make the best of them.

Verses 11-16: Would we cleave to the Lord, we must always stand upon our guard, for many a soul is lost through carelessness. Love the Lord your God, and you will not leave him. Has God been thus true to you? Be not you false to him. He is faithful that has promised, Hebrews 10:23. The experience of every Christian witnesses the same truth. Conflicts may have been severe and long, trials great and many; but at the last he will acknowledge that goodness and mercy followed him all the days of his life. Joshua states the fatal consequences of going back; know for a certainty it will be your ruin. The first step would be, friendship with idolaters; the next would be, marrying with them; the end of that would be, serving their gods. Thus the way of sin is down-hill, and those who have fellowship with sinners, cannot avoid having fellowship with sin. He describes the destruction he warns them of. The goodness of the heavenly Canaan, and the free and sure grant God has made of it, will add to the misery of those who shall for ever be shut out from it. Nothing will make them see how wretched they are, so much, as to see how happy they might have been. Let us watch and pray against temptation. Let us trust in God's faithfulness, love, and power; let us plead his promises, and cleave to his commandments, then we shall be happy in life, in death, and for ever.


From the Epistles
1 Corinthians 11:27-34
Discerning the Body of Christ


11:27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

And when I come I will give further directions.


Commentary
The apostle lays before the Corinthians the danger of receiving it with an unsuitable temper of mind; or keeping up the covenant with sin and death, while professing to renew and confirm the covenant with God. No doubt such incur great guilt, and so render themselves liable to spiritual judgements. But fearful believers should not be discouraged from attending at this holy ordinance. The Holy Spirit never caused this scripture to be written to deter serious Christians from their duty, though the devil has often made this use of it. The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord's table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord's table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God's worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.


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, July 30, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Friday, July 30, 2021

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).

Lord our God, we are your children. Hear all our concerns, we pray, for we want help from you, not from men, not from anything we can think or say. May your power be revealed in our time. We long for a new age, an age of peace in which people are changed. We long for your day, the day when your power will be revealed to poor, broken humankind. Be with us, and give our hearts what will remain with us, the strength and mercy of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Friday, July 30, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Friday, July 30, 2021

Matthew 5:14
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
We were never meant to shut ourselves off completely from unbelievers; we are to be a light to them (Matt. 5:14–16). We must always lead others to Him, and by our conduct and testimony glorify Him.

Read all of Matthew chapter 5

Listen to Matthew chapter 5


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

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, July 29, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Psalm 51:1-12; Exodus 32:19-26a; 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction

In today’s lectionary readings, David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. From the Pentateuch, we read about the Golden Calf. In our epistle reading, we read about abuses at the Lord’s Supper. In our verse of the day, those who have experienced the power of the Scriptures in their lives are not likely to forget them.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Psalm 119:93
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.
Those who have experienced the power of the Scriptures in their lives are not likely to forget them. We were “born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:23).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 51:1-12
Create in me a Clean Heart


1 Have mercy on me, O God,
     according to your unfailing love;
  according to your great compassion
     blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
     and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
     and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
     and done what is evil in your sight;
  so you are right in your verdict
     and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
     sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
     you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
     wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
     let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
     and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
      and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
      or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
      and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.


Commentary
Verses 1-6: David, being convinced of his sin, poured out his soul to God in prayer for mercy and grace. Whither should backsliding children return, but to the Lord their God, who alone can heal them? he drew up, by Divine teaching, an account of the workings of his heart toward God. Those that truly repent of their sins, will not be ashamed to own their repentance. Also, he instructs others what to do, and what to say. David had not only done much, but suffered much in the cause of God; yet he flees to God's infinite mercy, and depends upon that alone for pardon and peace. He begs the pardon of sin. The blood of Christ, sprinkled upon the conscience, blots out the transgression, and, having reconciled us to God, reconciles us to ourselves. The believer longs to have the whole debt of his sins blotted out, and every stain cleansed; he would be thoroughly washed from all his sins; but the hypocrite always has some secret reserve, and would have some favorite lust spared. David had such a deep sense of his sin, that he was continually thinking of it, with sorrow and shame. His sin was committed against God, whose truth we deny by wilful sin; with him we deal deceitfully. And the truly penitent will ever trace back the streams of actual sin to the fountain of original depravity. He confesses his original corruption. This is that foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child, that proneness to evil, and that backwardness to good, which is the burden of the regenerate, and the ruin of the unregenerate. He is encouraged, in his repentance, to hope that God would graciously accept him. Thou desirest truth in the inward part; to this God looks, in a returning sinner. Where there is truth, God will give wisdom. Those who sincerely endeavor to do their duty shall be taught their duty; but they will expect good only from Divine grace overcoming their corrupt nature.

Verses 7-12: Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Hebrews 12:24. If this blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, cleanse us from our sin, then we shall be clean indeed, Hebrews 10:2. He asks not to be comforted, till he is first cleansed; if sin, the bitter root of sorrow, be taken away, he can pray in faith, Let me have a well-grounded peace, of thy creating, so that the bones broken by convictions may rejoice, may be comforted. Hide thy face from my sins; blot out all mine iniquities out of thy book; blot them out, as a cloud is blotted out and dispelled by the beams of the sun. And the believer desires renewal to holiness as much as the joy of salvation. David now saw, more than ever, what an unclean heart he had, and sadly laments it; but he sees it is not in his own power to amend it, and therefore begs God would create in him a clean heart. When the sinner feels this change is necessary, and reads the promise of God to that purpose, he begins to ask it. He knew he had by his sin grieved the Holy Spirit, and provoked him to withdraw. This he dreads more than anything. He prays that Divine comforts may be restored to him. When we give ourselves cause to doubt our interest in salvation, how can we expect the joy of it? This had made him weak; he prays, I am ready to fall, either into sin or into despair, therefore uphold me with thy Spirit. Thy Spirit is a free Spirit, a free Agent himself, working freely. And the more cheerful we are in our duty, the more constant we shall be to it. What is this but the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, which is contrasted with the yoke of bondage? Galatians 5:1. It is the Spirit of adoption spoken to the heart.


From the Pentateuch
Exodus 32:19-26a
Anger Over the Golden Calf


32:19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”

22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26a So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.”

Commentary
What a change it is, to come down from the mount of communion with God, to converse with a wicked world. In God we see nothing but what is pure and pleasing; in the world nothing but what is sinful and provoking. That it might appear an idol is nothing in the world, Moses ground the calf to dust. Mixing this powder with their drink, signified that the backslider in heart should be filled with his own ways. Never did any wise man make a more frivolous and foolish excuse than that of Aaron. We must never be drawn into sin by any thing man can say or do to us; for men can but tempt us to sin, they cannot force us. The approach of Moses turned the dancing into trembling. They were exposed to shame by their sin.

From the Epistles
1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Abuses at the Lord’s Supper


11:17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

Commentary
The apostle rebukes the disorders in their partaking of the Lord's supper. The ordinances of Christ, if they do not make us better, will be apt to make us worse. If the use of them does not mend, it will harden. Upon coming together, they fell into divisions, schisms. Christians may separate from each other's communion, yet be charitable one towards another; they may continue in the same communion, yet be uncharitable. This last is schism, rather than the former. There is a careless and irregular eating of the Lord's supper, which adds to guilt. Many rich Corinthians seem to have acted very wrong at the Lord's table, or at the love-feasts, which took place at the same time as the supper. The rich despised the poor, and ate and drank up the provisions they brought, before the poor were allowed to partake; thus some wanted, while others had more than enough. What should have been a bond of mutual love and affection, was made an instrument of discord and disunion. We should be careful that nothing in our behavior at the Lord's table, appears to make light of that sacred institution. The Lord's supper is not now made an occasion for gluttony or reveling, but is it not often made the support of self-righteous pride, or a cloak for hypocrisy? Let us never rest in the outward forms of worship; but look to our hearts.


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 Thursday, July 29, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Thursday, July 29, 2021


For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you (2 Corinthians 13:4, NIV).

Lord our God, we thank you for the love you show us so that we may be delivered from weakness and sickness, from sin and misery, and may be given strength to serve you, our Father in heaven. Bless us in all we have on our hearts, that through your mercy the battle of life may be fought aright. Bless us in our times and grant that justice may gain the upper hand and we may live in peace, praising you into all eternity. Protect us, your children, forevermore. May your name be honored, your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Thursday, July 29, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Thursday, July 29, 2021


Psalm 119:93
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.
Those who have experienced the power of the Scriptures in their lives are not likely to forget them. We were “born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:23).

Read all of Psalm 119

Listen to Psalm 119


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

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, July 28, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Psalm 37:12-22; 2 Chronicles 9:29-31; Mark 6:35-44 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction

In today’s lectionary readings, we read that the little allotted to the righteous is more comfortable and more profitable than the ill-gotten and abused riches of ungodly men. From the Prophets, we read about the death of King Solomon. In our epistle reading, we about another miracle of Jesus as he feeds the 5000. In our verse of the day, we learn that we have not yet reached the Lord’s goal, that we must press on.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Life Lessons: Even the apostle Paul realized he had not yet reached the Lord’s goal for him—which was to know and reflect Jesus fully and completely (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 1:21; 3:8–11). Paul’s judgment about himself should help to humble us and motivate us to acknowledge that we all have a long way to go. We can’t dwell on the past—celebrating spiritual victories or mourning defeats. We must press on with the mindset that there is always more to be learned, submitted, expressed, and experienced in Christ.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 37:12-22
The Wicked Plot Against the Righteous


12 The wicked plot against the righteous
      and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
      for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword
      and bend the bow
   to bring down the poor and needy,
      to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
      and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have
      than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
      but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
      and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
      in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish:
      Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
      they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
      but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
      but those he curses will be destroyed.


Commentary
Let us be satisfied that God will make all to work for good to us. Let us not discompose ourselves at what we see in this world. A fretful, discontented spirit is open to many temptations. For, in all respects, the little which is allotted to the righteous, is more comfortable and more profitable than the ill-gotten and abused riches of ungodly men. It comes from a hand of special love. God provides plentifully and well, not only for his working servants, but for his waiting servants. They have that which is better than wealth, peace of mind, peace with God, and then peace in God; that peace which the world cannot give, and which the world cannot have. God knows the believer's days. Not one day's work shall go unrewarded. Their time on earth is reckoned by days, which will soon be numbered; but heavenly happiness shall be for ever. This will be a real support to believers in evil times. Those that rest on the Rock of ages, have no reason to envy the wicked the support of their broken reeds.

From the Historical Books
2 Chronicles 9:29-31
Nathan Writes a History


9:29 As for the other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat? 30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 31 Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.

Commentary
Here is Solomon dying, and leaving all his wealth and power to one who he knew would be a fool! Ecclesiastes 2:18; 19. This was not only vanity, but vexation of spirit. Neither power, wealth, nor wisdom, can ward off or prepare for the stroke of death. But thanks be to God who gives the victory to the true believer, even over this dreaded enemy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

From the Gospels
Mark 6:35-44
Jesus Feeds 5000


6:35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Commentary
Let not ministers do any thing or teach any thing, but what they are willing should be told to their Lord. Christ notices the frights of some, and the toils of others of his disciples, and provides rest for those that are tired, and refuge for those that are terrified. The people sought the spiritual food of Christ's word, and then he took care that they should not want bodily food. If Christ and his disciples put up with mean things, surely we may. And this miracle shows that Christ came into the world, not only to restore, but to preserve and nourish spiritual life; in him there is enough for all that come. None are sent empty away from Christ but those who come to him full of themselves. Though Christ had bread enough at command, he teaches us not to waste any of God's bounties, remembering how many are in want. We may, some time, need the fragments that we now throw away.


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 Wednesday, July 28, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Wednesday, July 28, 2021


I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16, NIV).

Lord our God, bring us together as one. Give us your Spirit so that we may know you, so that joy may fill our hearts, not only for ourselves but also for others. Root out evil from the earth. Sweep away all that offends you, all lying, deceit, and hate between nations. Grant that all people may come to know you, so that disunity and conflict may be swept away and your eternal kingdom may arise on earth and we may rejoice in it. For your kingdom can come to people even while on earth to bring them happiness and to make them your own children. Yes, Lord God, we want to be your children, your people, held in your hand, so that your name may be honored, your kingdom may come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Wednesday, July 28, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Life Lessons:
Even the apostle Paul realized he had not yet reached the Lord’s goal for him—which was to know and reflect Jesus fully and completely (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 1:21; 3:8–11). Paul’s judgment about himself should help to humble us and motivate us to acknowledge that we all have a long way to go. We can’t dwell on the past—celebrating spiritual victories or mourning defeats. We must press on with the mindset that there is always more to be learned, submitted, expressed, and experienced in Christ.

Read all of Philippians chapter 14

Listen to Philippians chapter 14


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

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Psalm 37:12-22; 2 Samuel 11:22-27; Romans 15:22-33 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction

In today’s lectionary readings, we read that the little allotted to the righteous is more comfortable and more profitable than the ill-gotten and abused riches of ungodly men. From the Prophets, we read when Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. She then became David’s wife and gave birth to a son. In our epistle reading, we learn how the Gentiles shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings. In our verse of the day, we learn that we must let go of anything that hinders our walk with the Lord.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Life Lessons: Hebrews 11 is filled with excellent examples of faith for us to draw strength and courage from when our walk with the Lord becomes difficult. Like them, we must let go of anything that hinders our relationship with God and, as Paul says, “Count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8). We cannot succeed in this race with the passions of this world weighing us down. We must run wholeheartedly for Christ—or not at all.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 37:12-22
The Wicked Plot Against the Righteous


12 The wicked plot against the righteous
      and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
      for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword
      and bend the bow
   to bring down the poor and needy,
      to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
      and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have
      than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
      but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
      and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
      in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish:
      Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
      they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
      but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
      but those he curses will be destroyed.


Commentary
Let us be satisfied that God will make all to work for good to us. Let us not discompose ourselves at what we see in this world. A fretful, discontented spirit is open to many temptations. For, in all respects, the little which is allotted to the righteous, is more comfortable and more profitable than the ill-gotten and abused riches of ungodly men. It comes from a hand of special love. God provides plentifully and well, not only for his working servants, but for his waiting servants. They have that which is better than wealth, peace of mind, peace with God, and then peace in God; that peace which the world cannot give, and which the world cannot have. God knows the believer's days. Not one day's work shall go unrewarded. Their time on earth is reckoned by days, which will soon be numbered; but heavenly happiness shall be for ever. This will be a real support to believers in evil times. Those that rest on the Rock of ages, have no reason to envy the wicked the support of their broken reeds.

From the Books of the Prophets
2 Samuel 11:22-27
Uriah’s Death Reported to David


11:22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.

Commentary
The higher a man's confidence is, who has sunk in wickedness, the greater his presumption and hypocrisy. Let not any one who resembles David in nothing but his transgressions, bolster up his confidence with this example. Let him follow David in his humiliation, repentance, and his other eminent graces, before he thinks himself only a backslider, and not a hypocrite. Let no opposer of the truth say, These are the fruits of faith! No; they are the effects of corrupt nature. Let us all watch against the beginnings of self-indulgence, and keep at the utmost distance from all evil. But with the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption. He will cast out no humble, penitent believer; nor will he suffer Satan to pluck his sheep out of his hand. Yet the Lord will recover his people, in such a way as will mark his abhorrence of their crimes, to hinder all who regard his word from abusing the encouragements of his mercy.

From the Epistles
Romans 15:22-33
Gentiles Share their Material Blessings


15:22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.

23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.

30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Commentary
Verses 22-29: The apostle sought the things of Christ more than his own will, and would not leave his work of planting churches to go to Rome. It concerns all to do that first which is most needful. We must not take it ill if our friends prefer work which is pleasing to God, before visits and compliments, which may please us. It is justly expected from all Christians, that they should promote every good work, especially that blessed work, the conversion of souls. Christian society is a heaven upon earth, an earnest of our gathering together unto Christ at the great day. Yet it is but partial, compared with our communion with Christ; for that only will satisfy the soul. The apostle was going to Jerusalem, as the messenger of charity. God loves a cheerful giver. Every thing that passes between Christians should be a proof and instance of the union they have in Jesus Christ. The Gentiles received the gospel of salvation from the Jews; therefore were bound to minister to them in what was needed for the body. Concerning what he expected from them he speaks doubtfully; but concerning what he expected from God he speaks confidently. We cannot expect too little from man, nor too much from God. And how delightful and advantageous it is to have the gospel with the fullness of its blessings! What wonderful and happy effects does it produce, when attended with the power of the Spirit!

Verses 30-33: Let us learn to value the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous. How careful should we be, lest we forfeit our interest in the love and prayers of God's praying people! If we have experienced the Spirit's love, let us not be wanting in this office of kindness for others. Those that would prevail in prayer, must strive in prayer. Those who beg the prayers of others, must not neglect to pray for themselves. And though Christ knows our state and wants perfectly, he will know them from us. As God must be sought, for restraining the ill-will of our enemies, so also for preserving and increasing the good-will of our friends. All our joy depends upon the will of God. Let us be earnest in prayer with and for each other, that for Christ's sake, and by the love of the Holy Spirit, great blessings may come upon the souls of Christians, and the labors of ministers.



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 Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Tuesday, July 27, 2021


I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16, NIV).

Lord our God, bring us together as one. Give us your Spirit so that we may know you, so that joy may fill our hearts, not only for ourselves but also for others. Root out evil from the earth. Sweep away all that offends you, all lying, deceit, and hate between nations. Grant that all people may come to know you, so that disunity and conflict may be swept away and your eternal kingdom may arise on earth and we may rejoice in it. For your kingdom can come to people even while on earth to bring them happiness and to make them your own children. Yes, Lord God, we want to be your children, your people, held in your hand, so that your name may be honored, your kingdom may come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.