Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Daily Bible Readings for Saturday, April 30, 2022

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Saturday, April 30, 2022
Psalm 30; Genesis 18:1-8; Luke 14:12-14
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
If as believers we all serve the one true God, then why shouldn’t His love express itself in us through unity (Eph. 4:1–16)? It really should. Therefore, “be like-minded, live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 30
My Wailing Turns to Dancing


1 I will exalt you, Lord,
     for you lifted me out of the depths
     and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
     and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
     you spared me from going down to the pit.

4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
     praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
     but his favor lasts a lifetime;
  weeping may stay for the night,
     but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,
     “I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me,
     you made my royal mountain stand firm;
  but when you hid your face,
     I was dismayed.

8 To you, Lord, I called;
     to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
     if I go down to the pit?
  Will the dust praise you?
     Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
      Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
      you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
      Lord my God, I will praise you forever.


Commentary
Praise to God for deliverance (vv. 1-5); Others encouraged by his example (vv. 6-12).

Verses 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.

Verses 6-12: When things are well with us, we are very apt to think that they will always be so. When we see our mistake, it becomes us to think with shame upon our carnal security as our folly. If God hide his face, a good man is troubled, though no other calamity befall him. But if God, in wisdom and justice, turn from us, it will be the greatest folly if we turn from him. No; let us learn to pray in the dark. The sanctified spirit, which returns to God, shall praise him, shall be still praising him; but the services of God's house cannot be performed by the dust; it cannot praise him; there is none of that device or working in the grave, for it is the land of silence. We ask aright for life, when we do so that we may live to praise him. In due time God delivered the psalmist out of his troubles. Our tongue is our glory, and never more so than when employed in praising God. He would persevere to the end in praise, hoping that he should shortly be where this would be the everlasting work. But let all beware of carnal security. Neither outward prosperity, nor inward peace, here, are sure and lasting. The Lord, in his favor, has fixed the believer's safety firm as the deep-rooted mountains, but he must expect to meet with temptations and afflictions. When we grow careless, we fall into sin, the Lord hides his face, our comforts droop, and troubles assail us.


From the Pentateuch
Genesis 18:1-8
Abraham and Sarah’s Hospitality to the Lord


18:1 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

Commentary
The Lord appears to Abraham.

Abraham was waiting to entertain any weary traveler, for inns were not to be met with as among us. While Abraham was thus sitting, he saw three men coming. These were three heavenly beings in human bodies. Some think they were all created angels; others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of the covenant. Washing the feet is customary in those hot climates, where only sandals are worn. We should not be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Heb. 13:2); nay, the Lord of angels himself; as we always do, when for his sake we entertain the least of his brethren. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, are great ornaments to piety. Though our condescending Lord vouchsafes not personal visits to us, yet still by his Spirit he stands at the door and knocks; when we are inclined to open, he deigns to enter; and by his gracious consolations he provides a rich feast, of which we partake with him (Rev. 3:20).


From the Gospels
Luke 14:12-14
Welcome Those in Need to Your Table


14:12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Commentary
Christ teaches humility.

Our Savior here teaches, that works of charity are better than works of show. But our Lord did not mean that a proud and unbelieving liberality should be rewarded, but that his precept of doing good to the poor and afflicted should be observed from love to him.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Saturday, April 30, 2022

 

The Morning Prayer
Saturday, April 30, 2022


He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:41-42, NIV


Dear Father in heaven, we lift our eyes to you. You allow earthly events to follow their own course, and even your own Son had to suffer and die. But your plan is already prepared and you will act in our time according to your will. We pray, “Your will be done, your will!” In the midst of all the suffering let your love be revealed in many places, wherever it is possible for people to understand it. You have always protected us; protect us still. You have done much for us and we want to praise your name. We want to be people who always acknowledge you and praise you, for you will never let any be lost who hope in you. Be with us this night, help us, and send us the strength we need to serve you, also in our everyday life. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Saturday, April 30, 2022

 

Verse of the Day
Saturday, April 30, 2022


Ephesians 4:15
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
If as believers we all serve the one true God, then why shouldn’t His love express itself in us through unity (Eph. 4:1–16)? It really should. Therefore, “be like-minded, live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11).

Read the Full Chapter



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

Our Daily Bread — Servants of the Night

 

Servants of the Night

May the Lord bless you from Zion. Psalm 134:3

READ Psalm 134



It’s 3 a.m. at an acute-care hospital. A worried patient presses the call button for the fourth time in an hour. The night-shift nurse answers without complaint. Soon another patient is screaming, crying for attention. The nurse isn’t surprised. She requested the night shift five years ago to avoid her hospital’s daytime frenzy. Then the reality hit. Night work often meant taking on extra tasks, such as lifting and turning patients by herself. It also meant closely monitoring patients’ conditions so physicians could be notified in emergencies.

Buoyed by close friendships with her nighttime co-workers, this nurse still struggles to get adequate sleep. Often, she asks her church for prayer, seeing her work as vital. “Praise God, their prayers make a difference.”

Her praise is good and right for a night worker—as well as for all of us. The psalmist wrote, “Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord” (Psalm 134:1–2).

This psalm, written for the Levites who served as temple watchmen, acknowledged their vital work—protecting the temple by day and night. In our nonstop world, it feels proper to share this psalm especially for nighttime workers, yet every one of us can praise God in the night. As the psalm adds, “May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth” (v. 3).

By Patricia Raybon
REFLECT & PRAY


When you consider nighttime workers—nurses, janitors, first responders, and others—what prayers on their behalf can you offer to God? Why would praising God lead to a blessing from Him for nighttime workers?

Dear God, in the early morning hours while I safely sleep, send Your blessings to nighttime workers doing vital work in my community. And help me to praise You in the night.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Psalms 120–134 is an anthology of fifteen songs, collectively known as the “Pilgrim Psalms” or “Songs of Ascent” in the Jewish hymnbook. Three times a year, all male Jews were to come to the temple in Jerusalem to observe the three annual national feasts of Unleavened Bread (Passover), Weeks (Pentecost), and Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16). Since Jerusalem is located on a mountainous terrain (Psalms 48:1–2; 125:2), these pilgrims had to “ascend” to get there. Therefore, the superscription marks these songs as “A song of ascents.”

Psalm 134 is the final song in this anthology, serving as a fitting benediction and closing prayer for the pilgrims. Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe says that this song reminds us that our worship of God never ends (v. 2), and His blessings never stop (v. 3).

K. T. Sim

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Daily Bible Readings for Friday, April 29, 2022

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Friday, April 29, 2022
Psalm 30; Isaiah 6:1-4; Revelation 4:1-11
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Job 19:25

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
Job is a stark biblical example of a fact we need to understand: even those who are right with God will suffer. Will we allow the suffering to tear down our faith or build it up? These are our only choices. Job chose to trust God, his Redeemer, and he was rewarded for his faith (Job 19:25, 26; 42:1–6, 10–17).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 30
My Wailing Turns to Dancing


1 I will exalt you, Lord,
     for you lifted me out of the depths
     and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
     and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
     you spared me from going down to the pit.

4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
     praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
     but his favor lasts a lifetime;
  weeping may stay for the night,
     but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,
     “I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me,
     you made my royal mountain stand firm;
  but when you hid your face,
     I was dismayed.

8 To you, Lord, I called;
     to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
     if I go down to the pit?
  Will the dust praise you?
     Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
      Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
      you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
      Lord my God, I will praise you forever.


Commentary
Praise to God for deliverance (vv. 1-5); Others encouraged by his example (vv. 6-12).

Verses 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.

Verses 6-12: When things are well with us, we are very apt to think that they will always be so. When we see our mistake, it becomes us to think with shame upon our carnal security as our folly. If God hide his face, a good man is troubled, though no other calamity befall him. But if God, in wisdom and justice, turn from us, it will be the greatest folly if we turn from him. No; let us learn to pray in the dark. The sanctified spirit, which returns to God, shall praise him, shall be still praising him; but the services of God's house cannot be performed by the dust; it cannot praise him; there is none of that device or working in the grave, for it is the land of silence. We ask aright for life, when we do so that we may live to praise him. In due time God delivered the psalmist out of his troubles. Our tongue is our glory, and never more so than when employed in praising God. He would persevere to the end in praise, hoping that he should shortly be where this would be the everlasting work. But let all beware of carnal security. Neither outward prosperity, nor inward peace, here, are sure and lasting. The Lord, in his favor, has fixed the believer's safety firm as the deep-rooted mountains, but he must expect to meet with temptations and afflictions. When we grow careless, we fall into sin, the Lord hides his face, our comforts droop, and troubles assail us.


From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Isaiah 6:1-4
Heaven’s Holy Holy Holy


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.

Commentary
The vision which Isaiah beheld in the temple.

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.


From the Apocalypse of John
Revelation 4:1-11
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.”

9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
      to receive glory and honor and power,
   for you created all things,
      and by your will they were created
      and have their being.”


Commentary
A vision of God, as on his glorious throne, around which were twenty-four elders and four living creatures (vv. 1-8); Whose songs, and those of the holy angels, the apostle heard (vv. 9-11).

Verses 1-8: 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.

Verses 9-11: All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confident.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Friday, April 29, 2022

 

The Morning Prayer
Friday, April 29, 2022


The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:9–10, NIV


Lord our God, we look to you in our many needs, in the distress of our hearts, in the anguish of the whole world. We beseech you, let light come to your people everywhere on earth to bring them your help and your victory. Remember the wretched, the sick, the poor. Let your living strength come to them so that they can bear their sufferings and hold out joyfully to the end. Remember us all, O Lord our God, for we all need you. We are weak and poor and cannot go forward alone. Your Spirit must help us. May the Savior come to us, and may his grace and his power be born in our hearts. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Friday, April 29, 2022

 

Verse of the Day
Friday, April 29, 2022


Job 19:25
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
Job is a stark biblical example of a fact we need to understand: even those who are right with God will suffer. Will we allow the suffering to tear down our faith or build it up? These are our only choices. Job chose to trust God, his Redeemer, and he was rewarded for his faith (Job 19:25, 26; 42:1–6, 10–17).

Read the Full Chapter



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

Our Daily Bread — Spiritual Diagnosis

 

Spiritual Diagnosis

We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord. Jeremiah 44:16

READ Jeremiah 44:16–18, 20–23



Chemotherapy reduced the tumor in my father-in-law’s pancreas, until it didn’t. As the tumor began to grow again, he was left with a life-and-death decision. He asked his doctor, “Should I take more of this chemo or try something else, perhaps a different drug or radiation?”

The people of Judah had a similar life-and-death question. Weary from war and famine, God’s people wondered whether their problem was too much idolatry or not enough. They concluded they should offer more sacrifices to a false god and see if she would protect and prosper them (Jeremiah 44:17).

Jeremiah said they had wildly misdiagnosed their situation. Their problem wasn’t a lack of commitment to idols; their problem was that they had them. They told the prophet, “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord!” (v. 16). Jeremiah replied, “Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed him or followed his law or his decrees or his stipulations, this disaster has come upon you” (v. 23).

Like Judah, we may be tempted to double down on sinful choices that have landed us in trouble. Relationship problems? We can be more aloof. Financial issues? We’ll spend our way to happiness. Pushed aside? We’ll be equally ruthless. But the idols that contributed to our problems can’t save us. Only Jesus can carry us through our troubles as we turn to Him.

By Mike Wittmer
REFLECT & PRAY


What personal problem has you stumped and how are you tempted to respond in a sinful way? What do you think Jesus might want you to do?

Jesus, I’d rather fail with You than succeed without You.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

In Jeremiah 44:1–14, God sent a direct message through the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish refugees who’d gone to Egypt against His express direction (see 42:7–22). While there, they were “burning incense to other gods in Egypt” (44:8), which brought God’s clear warning (vv. 8–14). But the people saw only what they wanted to see and defiantly rejected God in favor of the false “Queen of Heaven” (vv. 17–19, possibly Ishtar) and other pagan gods. On the face of it, Jeremiah’s mission was a failure. Opposition to his message was extensive. Yet the prophet remained faithful to God despite his unpopularity.

Tim Gustafson

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, April 28, 2022

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Psalm 30; Isaiah 5:11-17; Revelation 3:14-22
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Philippians 2:5-8

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
The Lord Jesus left His magnificent throne in heaven—where He is surrounded with praise and worship—and chose the limitation, suffering, and lowliness of a human body just so He could save us and show us His great love. Hebrews 2:17 tells us, “He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” In other words, He became like us to understand us. Because that is the way He best comforts and provides for us in all things (Heb. 4:14–16).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 30
My Wailing Turns to Dancing


1 I will exalt you, Lord,
     for you lifted me out of the depths
     and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
     and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
     you spared me from going down to the pit.

4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
     praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
     but his favor lasts a lifetime;
  weeping may stay for the night,
     but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,
     “I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me,
     you made my royal mountain stand firm;
  but when you hid your face,
     I was dismayed.

8 To you, Lord, I called;
     to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
     if I go down to the pit?
  Will the dust praise you?
     Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
      Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
      you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
      Lord my God, I will praise you forever.


Commentary
Praise to God for deliverance (vv. 1-5); Others encouraged by his example (vv. 6-12).

Verses 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.

Verses 6-12: When things are well with us, we are very apt to think that they will always be so. When we see our mistake, it becomes us to think with shame upon our carnal security as our folly. If God hide his face, a good man is troubled, though no other calamity befall him. But if God, in wisdom and justice, turn from us, it will be the greatest folly if we turn from him. No; let us learn to pray in the dark. The sanctified spirit, which returns to God, shall praise him, shall be still praising him; but the services of God's house cannot be performed by the dust; it cannot praise him; there is none of that device or working in the grave, for it is the land of silence. We ask aright for life, when we do so that we may live to praise him. In due time God delivered the psalmist out of his troubles. Our tongue is our glory, and never more so than when employed in praising God. He would persevere to the end in praise, hoping that he should shortly be where this would be the everlasting work. But let all beware of carnal security. Neither outward prosperity, nor inward peace, here, are sure and lasting. The Lord, in his favor, has fixed the believer's safety firm as the deep-rooted mountains, but he must expect to meet with temptations and afflictions. When we grow careless, we fall into sin, the Lord hides his face, our comforts droop, and troubles assail us.


From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Isaiah 5:11-17
Appetites that Lead to Hunger


11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning
      to run after their drinks,
   who stay up late at night
      till they are inflamed with wine.
12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
      pipes and timbrels and wine,
   but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord,
      no respect for the work of his hands.
13 Therefore my people will go into exile
      for lack of understanding;
   those of high rank will die of hunger
      and the common people will be parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Death expands its jaws,
      opening wide its mouth;
   into it will descend their nobles and masses
      with all their brawlers and revelers.
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.


Commentary
The judgments which would come.

Here is a woe to those who set their hearts on the wealth of the world. Covetousness is idolatry; and while many envy the prosperous, wretched man, the Lord denounces awful woes upon him. How applicable to many among us! God has many ways to empty the most populous cities. Those who set their hearts upon the world, will justly be disappointed. Here is woe to those who dote upon the pleasures and the delights of sense. The use of music is lawful; but when it draws away the heart from God, then it becomes a sin to us. God's judgments have seized them, but they will not disturb themselves in their pleasures. The judgments are declared. 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.


From the Apocalypse of John
Revelation 3:14-22
Words to the Church at Laodicea


3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Commentary
Epistles to the church at Laodicea.

Laodicea was the last and worst of the seven churches of Asia. Here our Lord Jesus styles himself, "The Amen;" one steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises. If religion is worth anything, it is worth every thing. Christ expects men should be in earnest. How many professors of gospel doctrine are neither hot nor cold; except as they are indifferent in needful matters, and hot and fiery in disputes about things of lesser moment! A severe punishment is threatened. They would give a false opinion of Christianity, as if it were an unholy religion; while others would conclude it could afford no real satisfaction, otherwise its professors would not have been heartless in it, or so ready to seek pleasure or happiness from the world. One cause of this indifference and inconsistency in religion is, self-conceit and self-delusion; "Because thou sayest." What a difference between their thoughts of themselves, and the thoughts Christ had of them! How careful should we be not to cheat our owns souls! There are many in hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves. Professors grow proud, as they become carnal and formal. Their state was wretched in itself. They were poor; really poor, when they said and thought they were rich. They could not see their state, nor their way, nor their danger, yet they thought they saw it. They had not the garment of justification, nor sanctification: they were exposed to sin and shame; their rags that would defile them. They were naked, without house or harbor, for they were without God, in whom alone the soul of man can find rest and safety. Good counsel was given by Christ to this sinful people. Happy those who take his counsel, for all others must perish in their sins. Christ lets them know where they might have true riches, and how they might have them. Some things must be parted with, but nothing valuable; and it is only to make room for receiving true riches. Part with sin and self-confidence, that you may be filled with his hidden treasure. They must receive from Christ the white raiment he purchased and provided for them; his own imputed righteousness for justification, and the garments of holiness and sanctification. Let them give themselves up to his word and Spirit, and their eyes shall be opened to see their way and their end. Let us examine ourselves by the rule of his word, and pray earnestly for the teaching of his Holy Spirit, to take away our pride, prejudices, and worldly lusts. Sinners ought to take the rebukes of God's word and rod, as tokens of his love to their souls. Christ stood without; knocking, by the dealings of his providence, the warnings and teaching of his word, and the influences of his Spirit. Christ still graciously, by his word and Spirit, comes to the door of the hearts of sinners. Those who open to him shall enjoy his presence. If what he finds would make but a poor feast, what he brings will supply a rich one. He will give fresh supplies of graces and comforts. In the conclusion is a promise to the overcoming believer. Christ himself had temptations and conflicts; he overcame them all, and was more than a conqueror. Those made like to Christ in his trials, shall be made like to him in glory. All is closed with the general demand of attention. And these counsels, while suited to the churches to which they were addressed, are deeply interesting to all men.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Thursday, April 28, 2022

 

The Morning Prayer
Thursday, April 28, 2022


You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11, NIV


Dear Father in heaven, you show us the way of life; in your presence is fullness of joy, and at your right hand is delight forever. In your presence we want to rejoice together as your children, under your protection. May we become firm in every part of our life on earth. Grant that soon something of your kingdom, of your heaven, may encircle us like a blessing, enabling us to fight on in joy and exultation. We entrust ourselves to you, our faithful and loving God, and we thank you. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Thursday, April 28, 2022

 

Verse of the Day
Thursday, April 28, 2022


Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
The Lord Jesus left His magnificent throne in heaven—where He is surrounded with praise and worship—and chose the limitation, suffering, and lowliness of a human body just so He could save us and show us His great love. Hebrews 2:17 tells us, “He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” In other words, He became like us to understand us. Because that is the way He best comforts and provides for us in all things (Heb. 4:14–16).

Read the Full Chapter



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

Our Daily Bread — Growing in Faith

 

Growing in Faith

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James‬ ‭1:4

READ James 1:2–4



At the beginning of my gardening journey, I’d wake up early and run to my vegetable garden to see if anything had sprouted. Nothing. After an internet search for “fast garden growth,” I learned that the seedling stage is the most important phase of a plant’s lifespan. Knowing now that this process couldn’t be rushed, I came to appreciate the strength of small sprouts fighting their way through the soil toward the sun and their resilience to temperamental weather. After waiting patiently for a few weeks, I was finally greeted by bursts of green sprouts creeping through the soil.

Sometimes it’s easy to praise the victories and triumphs in our lives without similarly acknowledging that growth in our character often comes through time and struggle. James instructs us to “consider it pure joy” when we “face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). But what could possibly be delightful about trials?

God will sometimes allow us to go through challenges and hardships so that we can be molded into who He’s called us to be. He waits in anticipation for us to come out of the trials of life “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (v. 4). By staying grounded in Jesus, we can persevere through any challenge, growing stronger and ultimately allowing the fruit of the Spirit to blossom in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23). His wisdom gives us the nourishment we need to truly flourish each and every day (John 15:5).

By Kimya Loder
REFLECT & PRAY


What trials have you been working through recently? What lessons are these circumstances revealing to you?

Dear heavenly Father, sometimes the trials I face seem unbearable. Please give me the strength to persevere, and help me as I grow in faith and develop into the fruit-bearing believer that You’ve called me to be.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

The letter of James emphasizes the calling of believers in Jesus to grow in wisdom, uniting Jesus’ teachings and other wisdom teachings in Scripture to paint a picture of living wisely and faithfully. The Greek word teleios, translated “mature” in verse 4, is a key word in the book of James (also vv. 17, 25; 3:2). It’s a word that in the original language emphasizes wholeness and integrity. To be “mature” is to live a life in which our daily actions flow harmoniously from our beliefs. Conversely, to live foolishly, in ways that are inconsistent with what we say we believe, is to live a fractured and divided life. Throughout his letter, James draws attention to any behavior that stands in stark contrast to what true faith in Christ demands, urging believers to reject any such inconsistencies for the wholeness found in Jesus.

Monica La Rose

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, April 27, 2022

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Psalm 122; Esther 9:1-5, 18-23; Luke 12:4-12
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
The Lord does not merely provide us with an example of godly living, but makes it possible for us to enjoy an intimate relationship with Himself. All of us “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), which means that we are all lost. Yet Christ came to earth to save us (John 3:16–18). He did for us what we could never do on our own (Rom. 5:1, 2).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 122
Peace in Jerusalem


1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
     “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 Our feet are standing
     in your gates, Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem is built like a city
     that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up—
     the tribes of the Lord—
  to praise the name of the Lord
     according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There stand the thrones for judgment,
     the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
     “May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
     and security within your citadels.”
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
     I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
     I will seek your prosperity.


Commentary
Esteem for Jerusalem (vv. 1-5); Concern for its welfare (vv. 6-9).

Verses 1-5: The pleasure and profit from means of grace, should make us disregard trouble and fatigue in going to them; and we should quicken one another to what is good. We should desire our Christian friends, when they have any good work in hand, to call for us, and take us with them. With what readiness should we think of the heavenly Jerusalem! How cheerfully should we bear the cross and welcome death, in hopes of a crown of glory! Jerusalem is called the beautiful city. It was a type of the gospel church, which is compact together in holy love and Christian communion, so that it is all as one city. If all the disciples of Christ were of one mind, and kept the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, their enemies would be deprived of their chief advantages against them. But Satan's maxim always has been, to divide that he may conquer; and few Christians are sufficiently aware of his designs.

Verses 6-9: Those who can do nothing else for the peace of Jerusalem, may pray for it. Let us consider all who seek the glory of the Redeemer, as our brethren and fellow-travelers, without regarding differences which do not affect our eternal welfare. Blessed Spirit of peace and love, who didst dwell in the soul of the holy Jesus, descend into his church, and fill those who compose it with his heavenly tempers; cause bitter contentions to cease, and make us to be of one mind. Love of the brethren and love to God, ought to stir us up to seek to be like the Lord Jesus in fervent prayer and unwearied labor, for the salvation of men, and the Divine glory.


From the Historical Books
Esther 9:1-5, 18-23
Purim Celebrates Victory


9:1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.

5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.

18 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them.

Commentary
The success of the Jews (vv. 1-19); The feast of Purim in remembrance of this (vv. 20-23).

Verses 1-19: The enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them by the former edict. If they had attempted nothing against the people of God, they would not themselves have suffered. The Jews, acting together, strengthened one another. Let us learn to stand fast in one spirit, and with one mind, striving together against the enemies of our souls, who endeavor to rob us of our faith, which is more precious than our lives. The Jews, to the honor of their religion, showed contempt of wordly wealth, that they might make it appear they desired nothing except their own preservation. In every case the people of God should manifest humanity and disinterestedness, frequently refusing advantages which might lawfully be obtained. The Jews celebrated their festival the day after they had finished their work. When we have received great mercies from God, we ought to be speedy in making thankful returns to him.

Verses 20-23: The observance of the Jewish feasts, is a public declaration of the truth of the Old Testament Scriptures. And as the Old Testament Scriptures are true, the Messiah expected by the Jews is come long ago; and none but Jesus of Nazareth can be that Messiah. The festival was appointed by authority, yet under the direction of the Spirit of God. It was called the feast of Purim, from a Persian word, which signifies a lot. The name of this festival would remind them of the almighty power of the God of Israel, who served his own purposes by the superstitions of the heathen.

From the Gospels
Luke 12:4-12
The Courage to Confess Christ


12:4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”


Commentary
Christ reproves the interpreters of the law.

A firm belief of the doctrine of God's universal providence, and the extent of it, would satisfy us when in peril, and encourage us to trust God in the way of duty. Providence takes notice of the meanest creatures, even of the sparrows, and therefore of the smallest interests of the disciples of Christ. Those who confess Christ now, shall be owned by him in the great day, before the angels of God. To deter us from denying Christ, and deserting his truths and ways, we are here assured that those who deny Christ, though they may thus save life itself, and though they may gain a kingdom by it, will be great losers at last; for Christ will not know them, will not own them, nor show them favor. But let no trembling, penitent backslider doubt of obtaining forgiveness. This is far different from the determined enmity that is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall never be forgiven, because it will never be repented of.



Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.