Monday, August 03, 2020

August 3-9: Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

A Daily Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

Opening with Prayer

Begin with a prayer that calls on God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You might use this prayer or one like it: 

Lord God, heavenly Father, you spoke by your prophets and promised that your word would accomplish the purpose for which you sent it. Use this word to as a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Teach me, that I may know your ways, your grace, your love, mercy, and forgiveness. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Word made Flesh. No one comes to the Father apart from you! You gave apostles to teach your word, and through them we learn that faith comes by hearing and hearing by your word. Thank you for creating faith in me. Give me ears to hear and believe, and, by believing, grant me life in your name. 

O Holy Spirit, you are the Comforter who reminds us of all that Jesus has proclaimed. You use the word to create and sustain faith in me and all believers. Breathe into my mind to grant me understanding of the Scriptures. Kindle my heart to live by God’s promises. Well up in my soul to overflow in faith, hope and love as a witness to the salvation you have given me. 

I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Looking at the Word

Copy the section of the Gospel of Matthew for the day, or a portion of Scripture of your own choosing.

Aug. 3       7:1–11

Aug. 4       7:12–20

Aug. 5       7:21–29

Aug. 6       8:1–13

Aug. 7       8:14–22

Aug. 8       8:23–34 

Pray from the Word

Use the following pattern to speak to God about what you have just read / copied: Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession and Petition. 

Instruction:                Tell God what you learned and/or summarize what he says.

Thanksgiving:           Thank God for something from the reading or as the Spirit moves you through the reading.

Confession:                Confess whatever sins the reading confronts in your life, trusting in Jesus’ forgiveness.

Petition:                     Pray as the reading prompts you and as the Spirit leads you. 

After this pray about any other matters of life that are pressing in your heart or mind. 

Pray as Jesus Teaches

Our Father who art in heaven,

hallowed be Thy name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Go in Peace

 

 


Monday, July 27, 2020

July 27-August 2: Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

A Daily Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

Opening with Prayer

Begin with a prayer that calls on God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You might use this prayer or one like it: 

Lord God, heavenly Father, you spoke by your prophets and promised that your word would accomplish the purpose for which you sent it. Use this word to as a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Teach me, that I may know your ways, your grace, your love, mercy, and forgiveness. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Word made Flesh. No one comes to the Father apart from you! You gave apostles to teach your word, and through them we learn that faith comes by hearing and hearing by your word. Thank you for creating faith in me. Give me ears to hear and believe, and, by believing, grant me life in your name. 

O Holy Spirit, you are the Comforter who reminds us of all that Jesus has proclaimed. You use the word to create and sustain faith in me and all believers. Breathe into my mind to grant me understanding of the Scriptures. Kindle my heart to live by God’s promises. Well up in my soul to overflow in faith, hope and love as a witness to the salvation you have given me. 

I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Looking at the Word

Copy the section of the Gospel of Matthew for the day, or a portion of Scripture of your own choosing.

July 27      5:21–30

July 28      5:31–42

July 29      5:43–6:4

July 30      6:5–15

July 31      6:16–24

Aug. 1       6:25–34 

Pray from the Word

Use the following pattern to speak to God about what you have just read / copied: Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession and Petition. 

Instruction:                Tell God what you learned and/or summarize what he says.

Thanksgiving:           Thank God for something from the reading or as the Spirit moves you through the reading.

Confession:                Confess whatever sins the reading confronts in your life, trusting in Jesus’ forgiveness.

Petition:                     Pray as the reading prompts you and as the Spirit leads you. 

After this pray about any other matters of life that are pressing in your heart or mind. 

Pray as Jesus Teaches

Our Father who art in heaven,

hallowed be Thy name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Go in Peace


Monday, July 20, 2020

July 20-26: Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

A Daily Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

Opening with Prayer

Begin with a prayer that calls on God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You might use this prayer or one like it:

Lord God, heavenly Father, you spoke by your prophets and promised that your word would accomplish the purpose for which you sent it. Use this word to as a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Teach me, that I may know your ways, your grace, your love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Word made Flesh. No one comes to the Father apart from you! You gave apostles to teach your word, and through them we learn that faith comes by hearing and hearing by your word. Thank you for creating faith in me. Give me ears to hear and believe, and, by believing, grant me life in your name.

O Holy Spirit, you are the Comforter who reminds us of all that Jesus has proclaimed. You use the word to create and sustain faith in me and all believers. Breathe into my mind to grant me understanding of the Scriptures. Kindle my heart to live by God’s promises. Well up in my soul to overflow in faith, hope and love as a witness to the salvation you have given me.

I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Looking at the Word

Copy the section of the Gospel of Matthew for the day, or a portion of Scripture of your own choosing.

July 20      3:13–17

July 21      4:1–11

July 22      4:12–22

July 23      4:23–5:1

July 24      5:2–12

July 25      5:13–20

Pray from the Word

Use the following pattern to speak to God about what you have just read / copied: Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession and Petition.

Instruction:                Tell God what you learned and/or summarize what he says.

Thanksgiving:           Thank God for something from the reading or as the Spirit moves you through the reading.

Confession:                Confess whatever sins the reading confronts in your life, trusting in Jesus’ forgiveness.

Petition:                     Pray as the reading prompts you and as the Spirit leads you.

After this pray about any other matters of life that are pressing in your heart or mind.

Pray as Jesus Teaches

Our Father who art in heaven,

hallowed be Thy name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Go in Peace

 

 


Friday, July 17, 2020

July 17: Devotion

I Am Baptized

Baptism … now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 3:21 ESV)

Make the sign of the cross as you say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

 

I Believe …

You shall have no other gods.

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.

Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.

Honor your father and mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

 

Bible Reading – Psalm 12

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith.[a] A Psalm of David.

12 Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
    for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
    like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times.

You, O Lord, will keep them;
    you will guard us[
b] from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
    as vileness is exalted among the children of man.[1]

I am stuck on that word in verse 8 – vileness. I looked it up in Hebrew. You can also translate the word “worthlessness.” I am lamenting how we – the children of man, the sons of Adam, the whole human race – exalt vileness. We make it important, revel in it, entertain ourselves with it, and allow it to consume our time, thoughts and energy.

Many thoughts swirl in my mind related to worthless vileness. Today I am mostly thinking about social media and the way they expose us to worthless thoughts, vile images, and, in general, perpetuate deception. Obviously, I still use social media because I posted this devotion on Facebook and Twitter, but I deleted these apps from my phone. I am wrestling with the way they draw us – draw me – to the vile and worthless.

St. Paul writes, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8 ESV) Truth. Honor. Justice. Pure. Lovely. Commendable. Excellence.

We have experienced God’s pure word. Indeed, we have met the Word-Made-Flesh in Jesus who has loved us, who is the truth, who honors his Father through his life, death, and resurrection, who is worthy of praise. The psalm says that God’s word is like silver purified seven times: seven the number of completion attached to a rigorous standard of purity and a metal of high value and beauty. That word reveals that there is much more to life than the worthless vileness that can so easily consume our hearts and minds.

There is comfort in knowing that the Lord acts to defend his people. That experience of his love, grace, mercy, justice, and salvation lifts us up and sets our minds on heavenly things. I long for the day when the flattering lips – the program of pandering pabulum – are cut off and we are filled the good, the lovely and the beautiful fill our thoughts. Having been saved by Jesus we are being drawn there to a place where all misery and sorrow, all injustice and wickedness, all vileness and worthlessness, come to an end in his glorious presence. So we pray with the psalmist that he will guard and keep us until that day … and that the day will come soon.

Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

The Sixth Petition: “And lead us not into temptation.”

Father in heaven, You tempt no one. Please guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory through Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Prayer

Pray for those who are sick, injured, grieving, dying, lonely, bullied, and experiencing injustice.

Benediction

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25 ESV)

 



[1] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 


Monday, July 13, 2020

July 13: Devotion


I Am Baptized

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal. 3:27 ESV)

Make the sign of the cross as you say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

I Believe …

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the

virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He

descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge

the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the

forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Bible Reading – Psalm 12

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith.[a] A Psalm of David.

12 Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
    for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
    our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
    like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times.

You, O Lord, will keep them;
    you will guard us[b] from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
    as vileness is exalted among the children of man.[1]

Reading the Psalms, I am impressed with a strong sense of dichotomy. There are the wicked and the righteous, and they are always in conflict. There is the side of God’s people who seek God’s will and follow God’s ways, and those who don’t, and these resist God and oppose his people. As a theologian once said, “There are only two religions in the world: the true faith in God through Jesus Christ and everything else.” After all Jesus is the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father apart from him (John 14:6) and there is no other name given to us than Jesus’ name which brings us salvation (Acts 4:12).

When it comes to salvation, the dichotomy is real.

I have found that people carry this stance into their political opinions, which is not helpful. They see the people’s political views as righteousness and wickedness. Here in the United States where we have two primary parties you can pick your side, they’re righteous and the other side is wicked. But when Psalm 12 speaks of flattering lips and a double heart, I think of politicians’ promises I have heard over the years.

We tend to confuse life in this world with life in God’s kingdom. In this world we live as aliens and strangers (1 Peter 2:11) and we muddle our way through seeking to follow God’s ways, falling short, hindered, struggling, and always relying of God’s grace to get us through. Our politics are often not as clearly two sided as we pretend they are, and no party represents the kingdom of God in government. They may have parts, but none has the fullness of God’s truth.

This sad state of affairs can leave us praying, “Save, O LORD!” or “Deliver, O LORD, because the godly one is gone; because faithful ones have disappeared from among the children of man.” It is a feeling of hopelessness that David expresses here. It is a sense of being a stranger in a strange land. So where do we turn when we confront this sense abuse and deception? We turn to the LORD.

It is, I think, worth noting that the first two words to the Psalm in Hebrew – the words translated, “Save, O LORD” – are the words that come together to form the name Jesus, which means, “The LORD saves.” He delivers us from our own wickedness and sin. He makes us righteous and gives us a place in God’s kingdom. When we feel lost and lied to by the world, we cling to Jesus, and trust in God to keep us, guard us, and brings us to the place where we will finally be safe in God’s presence.

Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

The Second Petition: “Thy kingdom come”

O God, everlasting Father, Your kingdom comes even without our prayer, but, please, let it come to us, too! Please give us Your Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we may believe Your Word, and live godly lives here in time and there in eternity. Amen.

Prayer

Pray for God to help you to understand and believe His Word.

Pray for increased faith, hope, and love.

Benediction

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21 ESV)



[1] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 


July 13-19: Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

A Daily Meditation on the Gospel of Matthew

Opening with Prayer

Begin with a prayer that calls on God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You might use this prayer or one like it:

Lord God, heavenly Father, you spoke by your prophets and promised that your word would accomplish the purpose for which you sent it. Use this word to as a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Teach me, that I may know your ways, your grace, your love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Word made Flesh. No one comes to the Father apart from you! You gave apostles to teach your word, and through them we learn that faith comes by hearing and hearing by your word. Thank you for creating faith in me. Give me ears to hear and believe, and, by believing, grant me life in your name.

O Holy Spirit, you are the Comforter who reminds us of all that Jesus has proclaimed. You use the word to create and sustain faith in me and all believers. Breathe into my mind to grant me understanding of the Scriptures. Kindle my heart to live by God’s promises. Well up in my soul to overflow in faith, hope and love as a witness to the salvation you have given me.

I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Looking at the Word

Copy the section of the Gospel of Matthew for the day, or a portion of Scripture of your own choosing. 

 July 13      1:1–11

July 14       1:12–17

July 15       1:18–25

July 16       2:1–12

July 17       2:13–23

July 18       3:1–12

Pray from the Word

Use the following pattern to speak to God about what you have just read / copied: Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession and Petition.

Instruction:                Tell God what you learned and/or summarize what he says.

Thanksgiving:           Thank God for something from the reading or as the Spirit moves you through the reading.

Confession:                Confess whatever sins the reading confronts in your life, trusting in Jesus’ forgiveness.

Petition:                     Pray as the reading prompts you and as the Spirit leads you.

After this pray about any other matters of life that are pressing in your heart or mind. 

Pray as Jesus Teaches

Our Father who art in heaven,

hallowed be Thy name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Go in Peace

 


 


Saturday, July 11, 2020

July 11: Devotion

I Am Baptized

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:25-27 ESV)

Make the sign of the cross as you say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

I Believe …

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the

virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He

descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge

the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the

forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Bible Reading – Psalm 11

To the choirmaster. Of David.

11 In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
    they have fitted their arrow to the string
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”[
a]

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.[1]

Sometimes the words of the Psalms can be a little unsettling. For instance: In v. 7 it says that the Lord is righteous, he loves righteous deeds – or more literally, “he loves righteousness” – and the upright – those who walk the straight path will see his face. These words can be unsettling because when we examine our lives there is plenty of evidence to suggest that we are not righteous, that our righteousness is lacking if we look at our actions and attitudes, and that we are not nearly as upright as God demands.

Here is the problem with that thinking. The assumption is that we are the source of our righteousness, and that our righteousness is based on our behaviors and actions. But this is not how God measures our righteousness. We – along with David, and all believers from all times and places – live in a relationship with God that is based on his grace. This grace is at the heart of Jesus’ action to give himself for our sin. This is why he didn’t just bear our sins, but became our sin on the cross so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. We rely on a righteousness that comes from outside of us – Jesus’ righteousness, which becomes ours through faith in him.

God’s standard of righteousness is Jesus, and his righteousness is credited to us by his grace.

Does that mean that we are free to behave like the wicked? No. Remember, the Lord’s eyes see, and he tests the children of man. But our righteous actions are not for God, they are to bless our neighbors, to stand as a testimony to them, and to be a mark of God’s work in our lives so that they might learn of his grace a mercy through us.

We will fall short of that active righteousness, however. So we take comfort in Jesus’ righteousness which is credited to us, and strive to live up to that wonderful, generous, gift God has given us in his grace.

Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

The Seventh Petition: “But deliver us from evil.”

Dear Father, please rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to heaven, where we will live eternally with You, and with Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer

Pray for your church, the pastor, and the staff.

Pray for the needs of your fellow church members – parents, children, youth, the elderly, the ill, and the dying.

Benediction

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb. 13:20-21 ESV)

 



[1] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 


Friday, July 10, 2020

July 10: Devotion

I Am Baptized

Baptism … now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 3:21 ESV)

Make the sign of the cross as you say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

I Believe …

You shall have no other gods.

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.

Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.

Honor your father and mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Bible Reading – Psalm 11

To the choirmaster. Of David.

11 In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
    they have fitted their arrow to the string
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”[
a]

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.[1]

Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the feeling of hopelessness in this life. That’s where David’s counselor was when he said, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” He is poetically throwing up his hands in defeat. He is saying there is nothing solid, everything is up in the air, and everything is uncertain.

Perhaps you’ve been there.

What are the foundations that we rely on so heavily? Luther identified three foundational structures in this world. They are the State, the Church, and the Family. Perhaps we might look at these things today and think that these are all in chaos even today. And, if they are, what can we do about it? Maybe the best thing to do is just to withdraw from the world. Like the medieval monks, we could hide from the breakdown of society, it’s injustices and corruption, behind our privacy fences and closed garage doors. Just make faith a private matter – just between you and God.

But the psalm responds to this hopeless lament with this statement. The LORD is in his holy temple. That statement is a confession of faith. It is a defiant claim that though we feel that all of our security and stability is rocked and uncertain in this world, God is faithful. He is not dismayed. Indeed, he will use these events for his own purpose – testing the righteous and punishing the wicked.

The LORD is in his holy temple – and today that temple is his people, the Church. He is with us in the midst of the decay of society when we feel undermined and unstable. He has promised he will never leave us or forsake us so that we can face this life in confidence that no matter what happens the end for us is secure. In fact, we have greater confidence than David did because Christ had not yet risen from the dead when he wrote this psalm. We know that this world might kill and destroy us in a wide variety of ways – the foundations might be shaking all around us – but we live even if we die, and one day we will rise to God’s glory.

Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

The Sixth Petition: “And lead us not into temptation.”

Father in heaven, You tempt no one. Please guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory through Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Prayer

Pray for those who are sick, injured, grieving, dying, lonely, bullied, and experiencing injustice.

Benediction

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25 ESV)

 



[1] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 


Thursday, July 09, 2020

July 9: Devotion

I Am Baptized

God saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. (Tit. 3:5 ESV)

Make the sign of the cross as you say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

I Believe …

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.

This is most certainly true.

Bible Reading – Psalm 11

To the choirmaster. Of David.

11 In the Lord I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
    they have fitted their arrow to the string
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”[
a]

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The Lord tests the righteous,
    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked;
    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.[1]

Over the last few months I have said over and over again, “Everything is going to be okay.” That is the message of this psalm. Everything is going to be okay.

It begins with a statement of defiance and faith; to paraphrase, “I take refuge in the LORD.” This is David’s response to whomever is urging him to flee.

Years ago, I knew a pastor who had served in Buffalo during the race riots during the 1960’s. Pastor Fey was in his 90’s and I was a young seminarian. He was a very small man. I doubt he was more more than 5’4”. But he was a man with great faith. One day he told me a story about those days of trouble and chaos. His congregation was mixed, meaning that he had both Black and White parishioners, which was even less common then, especially as Pastor Fey was White. One of his Black members was ill, and we went to her apartment building in a seedy part of town to pray with her and take her the Lord’s Supper. He was greeted at the door by a handful of very large young Black men. They challenged him, “Where do you think you’re going?” He cheerfully said, “I’m going up to visit one of my members.” They replied, “No, you’re not. This is a Black apartment. You’re not welcome here.” Pastor Fey answered, “My member is sick, and I am here to pray for her. I am going in.” They towered over Pastor Fey, “Man, you are not coming into this building. Look around little man! Don’t you know we’ll stop you? Don’t you know we could kill you? You should be afraid of us!” To which Pastor Fey calmly and quietly replied, “What kind of God do you think I serve?” And at that point they stepped back and let him pass.

What kind of God do you serve? You serve the God who gave his only begotten Son to save you from sin and death. You serve the God who created all things, and who will, one day, bring all things to an end. You serve the God who IS, the God who is with his people, the God who raises the dead, restores justice, and makes all things new. This God sees you, knows you, and loves you.

There are a lot of things in our world that are not okay right now. But the LORD has it in hand. He will set all things right. He has already won the victory over sin and death for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s only a matter of time until he brings the final victory with Jesus’ return. Until then you can take refuge in the LORD. He’ll bring you through. Everything is going to be okay.

Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

The Fifth Petition: “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Heavenly Father, do not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that You would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. But you have given Your Son, our Savior, Jesus to bear our sins in His body on the cross and given us forgiveness for His sake. For Jesus’ sake help us to sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us. Amen.

Prayer

Pray for your spouse, parents, family, and friends – and for your enemies.

Benediction

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2 Thess. 2:16-17 ESV)

 



[1] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

July 8: Devotion

I Am Baptized

3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Rom. 6:3-5 ESV)

Make the sign of the cross as you say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

I Believe …

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

Bible Reading – Psalm 10

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
    and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
    all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
    your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
    as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
    throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
    under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
    in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
    he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
    he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
    and fall by his might.
11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
    he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God
    and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
    that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
    you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
    call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
    the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.[1]

Take a closer look at verses 17 and 18. They say, “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

As the psalmist speaks of the afflicted, the fatherless, and the oppressed, it is important for us to see these images as the most vulnerable people. These are people who, in and of themselves, have little to no hope, strength, or protection.

On one hand, this psalm teaches us to intercede on behalf of others. We live in a world in which there is injustice, wickedness, and wrong-doing. Harm is done to other people. In this fallen world, the very systems in which we trust to do good to those who need help in our communities fall short and are sometimes marred with inequities. Many of the world’s problems are obvious, overwhelming, and beyond our power to fix, so we call out to God even as we seek to live in love and do right by our neighbors. (Even if we cannot fix the world, we can strive to do right by the people in our communities!)

On the other hand, the psalm challenge us to see ourselves as those who, in and of ourselves, have no hope, strength, or protection. There is a call here urging us to place ourselves under God’s mercy, the mercy that we know most fully in Jesus who died and rose for us. We trust God’s mercy even when we are feeling the perceived absence and crying out for God’s salvation. The psalmist calls us to trust that the LORD is king forever, and that the things of this world – even the nations – perish so these things do not strike terror in our hearts.

The challenge of Psalm 10 is the question: Who or what will be your god? Where will you place your hope? Where or in whom will you seek the good you need? It leaves us with a statement of faith in God – that he does what is just and right, and acts on our behalf to save his people. Thanks be to God that we’ve experienced that salvation through faith in Jesus, but we still find ourselves waiting for the day when Christ will return and make all things right – even raising us from the grave (where we are utterly powerless) freeing us from the sin that entangles our lives. Until then, when we look at the world we will sometimes wonder, “Where is God?” and we will walk by faith trusting his promises … promises that he will keep because he is faithful.

Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

The Fourth Petition: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Heavenly Father, You give daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that You would lead us to realize this so that we receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. Make us mindful of all that You give us that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and help us to always give thanks to You; in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Prayer

Pray about the creation. This certainly includes things like pollution and proper care for creation, but it also includes growing seasons, the bounty of the earth, food for the hungry, and every aspect of bodily life.

Benediction

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Ps. 121:7-8 ESV)

 



[1] English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.