Meditation

Sermon for Proper 13 for the 8th Sunday After Pentecost – 07-31-2022

Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21

In our lesson from Hosea, evil behavior deserves God’s punishment, but His basic relationship to His people is love. His heart fills with compassion when time for punishment comes. Sometimes His great love leads to even greater patience and protection for His people. Still, the time of punishment cannot be put off forever, as the Norther Kingdom found out in 721 BC. God’s love and Israel’s stupid commitment to the practices of their neighbors marked Israel’s history. Sin causes blindness in two ways: “one we do not always see what has done for us and two we stubbornly refuse to repent because we cannot see our own sin.” Justice called for an unrepentant people to face justice. Love could not give up on His people, so the final word is hope beyond judgment.

Wow, sure glad they figured out their mistakes, so we didn’t have to keep repeating them, huh! When Israel was young, God loved her. She grew old with ingratitude and infidelity. God would have preserved Israel in the vigor of youth, but Israel rejected His love. His unconditional love melted with compassion. In His faithfulness He could not totally give up on His people, and also on all of us today. As the Teacher of His people, God is gentle and loving, like a father helping a toddler take its first steps.

In our Psalm from 107 we find that God’s present help lies ahead for the suffering, lonely, imprisoned, and troubled. God an and often does reveal His goodness in all of life’s circumstances when we cry out for help. Some of life’s desperate circumstances result from divine punishment on human sin. God hears the prayers of penitent human sin, He hears our prayers of penitent sufferers and helps us in our circumstances. We should learn from others’ experiences, join them in praising God for His deliverance, and call on God for help in our own troubles.

God acts in the different experiences of His people to meet their individual needs. Events in individual lives thus reveals God’s love. As His people we respond to such revelation with praise, thanksgiving, offerings, testimony, worship and hopefully with reflection. The thought of the opening verse, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever,” and is repeated four other times in verse 8, 15, 21, and 31. Five times should catch our attention, for in verse 43 we are told: “Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of he Lord.”

From our lesson in Colossians, we are reminded of our responsibilities to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and to live positive and moral lives according to biblical scripture. Our country has allowed other books to be on the same level as the Bible, for they sit on our bookshelves with our Bibles and do not study them with the veracity that we did upon committing ourselves to serve Christ in our lives daily. We forget to repent of our sins, when they occur, and restore our relationship with the Trinitarian Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and to praise our Lord in all things that happen around us regularly. We have been given the gift of salvation, yet do not often appreciate it as we once did.

Our character are to represent our ethics in the world and our only circle of family and friends. Our word used to be considered a contract, but this has changed. Into our lives we have allowed negative things like greed and personal desires to take our attention away from serving our Beloved God, who loves us in spite of our ways, but who is always waiting for us to turn back to Him, to shower us with His forgiveness and mercy. We are to be the image of God to a world that is hurting in more ways than one, and we are supposed to show His love towards others, not argue with people. To serve Him, we must be better than that, for He deserves our love, respect, and service to honor Him.

Finally our Gospel lesson from Luke is one that reminds us that one day, we will not be here. At funerals, it is normal to tell people all the things you accomplished while on this earth, and I try to keep the worldly things to a minimum, for I would much rather talk about how much you did in your life in service to God. Also, there are many times few relatives are in attendance for the person who was a business success, had no one to leave it to. They worked so hard to amass a fortune, had multiple houses, traveled, but either lost their families or there were none left to leave it to.

Beloved, Jesus was a man of prayer. So often He would remove Himself from the crowds to go off to pray and refresh His focus. Luke reveals the emphasis Jesus placed upon prayer. On seven different occasions Luke is the only Gospel writer indicating that Jesus prayer. The love Jesus had was reflected for all people. He was concerned about the needs of Jews and Samaritans, the poor and the rich, the “self-righteous” and the lost, the “successful” and the broken individuals. Jesus offer the joy of salvation to every person.

Placing material things over personal relationships has disastrous results. One can become consumed by the bigger is better syndrome. Greed gradually gains control and all energy is expended on material security so that a vision of wealth guides character formation. Beloved, life is too short to be centered on the material. God offers so many possibilities for us that it is foolish to spend all of our physical and emotional energies on satisfying ego needs to have more than others. Serving God silences our greed and leads to satisfaction with what He supplies. Concern for the needs of others replaces worry over personal desires.

When I ask people where their joy comes from, many will respond in a materialistic response about fleeting joy, hardly ever about everlasting joy. When a person speaks of the joy of studying God’s Word, so that they can better serve Him, they glow with the inner peace that comes directly from serving our Lord. When they speak with others and witness their own salvation story, it is usually with a few tears and a smile, about what the Lord has poured out His love and forgiveness and mercy. Christians are not perfect by any means, but when we walk with Him daily, we go to Him in prayer, confess our sins, and seek both guidance and forgiveness that when given another opportunity to witness to others, that they feel His mercy and nearness. There is no better feeling that helping lead another to the Lord. Are you actively seeking His help in how to witness to others? Everyone has a different story, but the common denominator is our service to our Lord! Try it. Amen

Meditation

07/29/2022

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2nd Timothy 2:2 – Evangelism, In The Church)

As a leader, Timothy was to instruct faithful Christians, who then, in tun, could teach others also. The principle is most important in the development of an evangelistic church. To share Christ is not the duty of just on or two leaders. They are to teach others how to evangelize who will then teach others until all in the body of Christ are instructed in sharing their faith, and this is how the entire world can come to hear the gospel message.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, there is great responsibility to those who teach the Word, both clergy and laypersons. Therefore we pray that those who seek to teach are qualified and trained in teaching, because it will make a difference in peoples lives, to know the truth of the Word and how to pass on that truth to others. Some people may like to teach, but are not given the skills to do so, thus, the importance of selecting qualified leaders is paramount. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

God’s truth is protection from Satan’s lies.”

KNOWING GOD:

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to he home. If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said. “come and stay at my home. And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:13-15 – Evangelism, Worship)

Beloved, honest worship of God helps make one receptive to the Spirit and is thus a significant context in which to evangelize.

I AM:

Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O Lord; I will sing praises to your name.” (Psalm 18:49 – Evangelism, In The Marketplace)

The reference to the marketplace is a metaphor to the “Mall” or “While traveling” or “Wherever we happen to go. God’s message is to be shared, not held inside of us, but to share with those around us, no matter where that might be. Kings and rulers, along with all people, are to be warned so they become wise unto salvation. That is the evangelistic responsibility of all who have been transformed by God’s salvation.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to our family an tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you. So the man went away and began to tell in he Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people wee amazed.’” (Mark 5:18-20 – Evangelism, In The Home)

Like the man in the parable, God saves us and sends us to tell those closes to us about His salvation. Evangelism begins in our homes and with our friends. Like the rock thrown into the pond, the ring of circles moves out from the center and beyond anyone imagination.

Meditation

07/28/2022

Many people will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of he God of Jacob. H will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’” (Isaiah 2:3 – Evangelism, Teaching)

God’s teaching in God’s worship place should attract people of all nations to Him. God has entrusted His people with His Word to teach the peoples. Such teaching should lead people to strong faith.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, there is great responsibility to those who teach the Word, both clergy and laypersons. Therefore we pray that those who seek to teach are qualified and trained in teaching, because it will make a difference in peoples lives, to know the truth of the Word and how to pass on that truth to others. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

You will never possess that which you’re not willing to profess.”

KNOWING GOD:

O Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, ‘Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. Do men make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!’ ‘Therefore I will each them—-this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 16:19-21 – Evangelism, Teaching)

Evangelistic opportunities may come unexpectedly. People dissatisfied with their

way of life come seeking the truth. The evangelist should be a teacher for God to teach God’s power and might and introduce God by name to those who seek Him.

I AM:

Many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of he God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:2 – Evangelism, Teaching)

The gospel, although in many respects simple, is still most profound and needs to be carefully taught. Faithful teaching explains all the various elements and implications of the message of salvation. We need to pray God will “teach us his ways” that we may “walk in his paths.” Teaching evangelism is as important as preaching evangelism.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

As for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—-I am telling the truth, I am not lying—-and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.” (1st Timothy 2:7 – Evangelism, Teaching)

Paul saw himself as a teacher of the gospel, as did our Lord Jesus Christ. The proclamation of the gospel during a service is specifically presented in a loud voice, so that the people know that the sermon will follow the proclamation. It is, therefore, given special attention, so that the people know the teaching of the gospel’s account is coming next. The content of the sermon is to teach on the content of the gospel, though current events may be appropriate examples of that content. It should not, however, simply be a sermon on the day’s headlines. The gospel message is too important taught on.

Meditation

07/27/2022

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who wee ill with various diseases,mist suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and for paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” (Matthew 4:23-25 – Evangelism, Social Action)

Can you visualize the mass of people following Jesus everywhere He went, and everywhere He went, He healed people of diseases, sicknesses, demon-possession, and He calmly and purposely healed them, some of which were in severe pain and suffering. This allows Jesus to have an audience to preach the good news of salvation to one and all. There is no conflict between meeting social or physical needs and providing spiritual necessities. Jesus’ love for people led Him to minister to all their concerns. The result was that “news about him spread all over,” and large crowds…followed him.” Jesus’ attitude sets the agenda for today’s church to join ministry to needs and proclamation of the gospel into one effective program of evangelism.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, as Jesus met the needs of the people that came to Him seeking relief at least, and completely healing at the most allowed them to show their appreciation towards Him to then listen to His teaching and preaching. The other point that is critical to understand, is that Jesus did all of this with a smile, and easy to approach attitude that revealed He was doing all of this because He loved them. Help us to never forget that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ and to let that fact reveal itself in the way we talk with them or care for them. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

One is not ready to live if they are not ready to die.”

KNOWING GOD:

Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.” (Luke 8:36 – Evangelism, Social Action)

The healing of the demon-possessed man so impressed the witnesses that they told all the people what Jesus had done. The meeting of temporal needs often opens the door to an effective witness to our Lord’s love and grace. When you witness to others, you are doing our Lord an injustice, if you do not talk about what He did for you. When He called me into ministry, I found a lot of joy in worldly activities. I now describe my joy as serving my Lord and Savior, as He invited me to serve as He served on this earth. I love my family and things we do together and some relaxation, but the true joy in my life has come by serving others in need and feeling the honor of being one who looks for serving others to enhance my relationship with Him. Some people think it is more important to have good jobs, make money, and live life as if there is no tomorrow. I now live my life for the Lord, and He has blessed me, my family, and so many others by giving the joy that keeps on giving.

I AM:

The apostles performed many miraculous sings and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.” (Acts 5:12-14 – Evangelism, Social Action)

God gave the early church healing power. This power attracted people and resulted in church growth. The power of ministry to people’s physical needs should be a basic part of a church’s evangelism program. The other part is to preach the Word, in an understandable way. Church is not a comedy club! We are to preach the entire word, in order for people to understand God’s Word and also to not be fooled by the antic-Christ when he is released. If we are only trying to get a chuckle or tow from the body of Christ, then we are missing he point of the church.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, ‘Is is lawful to heal on the sabbath?’ He said to them, ‘If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much valuable is a man than a sheep?! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to he man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.” (Matthew 12:9-14 – Evangelism, Social Action)

Let me now ask each of you a question. If you came upon a person with a withered hand and had the ability to health them completely, would you stop to wait unto Monday in order to heal them? Or if you heard church leadership tell you not to heal a person because it was the Sabbath, what would you think of them? Jesus took the time to answer their question, because the answer was more important than their question. Yes, He said, “Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Beloved, miracles reveal the priority of people over religion. Jesus was more concerned with healing the handicapped person than with the legalistic observance of the Sabbath. His challenge to the man’s faith was clear—-your hand has been useless? Use it!

Meditation

07/26/2022

As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—-when he come and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling placed, and do whatever the foreigner asks of ou, so that all the people of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built hears your Name.” (2nd Chronicles 6:32-33 – Personal Evangelism)

Regardless of race, color, ethnic origin, or any human difference, all people are to hear our word of witness. God loves all and wants to include in His kingdom all who will turn to Him. They will hear of God’s “great name” and be drawn to Him as we personally share Jesus Christ with them. Then we are to include them in the family of God and accept them as brothers and sisters. Personal witnessing to all is essential to vital evangelism. It rings true to others, because your story can or could be their own story or like them.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, we pray for all who have heard to call to them, but they know not what to do or where to start. Let the Holy Spirit guide them to a Christian that can give their personal witness or story of their own call, and help them to fulfill theirs, as well. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Remember, ever person is guilty of all the good we did not do!”

KNOWING GOD:

The Lord has vindicated us; come, let us tell in Zion what the Lord our God has done.” (Jeremiah 51:10 – Personal Evangelism)

God’s people share their personal testimonies or witnesses to encourage other to worship God and participate in His salvation. The returning exiles were to share their deliverance and freedom from Babylon. We share our deliverance and freedom in Christ Jesus.

I AM:

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that yo will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (Philemon 1:6 – Personal Evangelism)

Paul wanted Philemon to be active in sharing his faith. In that way he would mature in the faith and deepen as a believer. To do personal evangelism is a great strength to one’s own personal faith as well a a means to lead others into the faith. Our faith matures, as we share our faith with others. It doesn’t change as much as it becomes stronger through our own understanding of the depth of our faith, otherwise, it is likened to a parrot repeating the same message over and over. The message in that sense, has little depth, because we have not continued to seek our Lord’s help in understanding the true depth of what He has done in calling us to witness to others.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light;he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” (John 1:7-9 – Personal Evangelism)

John illustrated personal witnessing. Despite his own power and popularity, he pointed people to Christ and away from himself. He sought to bring people to believe in Christ. This Gospel has a marked preference for the word “believe.” The word is found in almost every chapter in some form or another. John the Baptist bore witness to Jesus Christ as the “Light of the world,” that persons might believe in Him. The Jewish people were reluctant to believe in Jesus. Those who did believe in Him, He made sons and daughters of God. Nathaniel believe in Jesus because Jesus saw him under the fig tree. We should believe in Him because He is the way to God and eternal life.

Meditation

07/25/2022

Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring t hem out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.” (Exodus 12:38, 48 – Mass Evangelism)

When many people are redeemed, as were the Israelites out of Egypt, masses will often be inspired and will follow. This is the power of mass evangelism.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, pray this day for those who have never heard the Word presented to them honestly and truthfully. When it is provided in such a manner, there may be many more who will respond that expected, but God will welcome them all. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

When you see God’s Hand in everything,, it is easy to leave everything in God’s Hands!”

KNOWING GOD:

You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them a native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted and inheritance among the tribes if Israel.” (Ezekiel 47:22 – Mass Evangelism)

God surprised the exiles with His restoration plan which included full citizenship rights for foreign believers. No one is to be exempted from the household of faith. All who believe become part of God’s family. Our evangelistic ministry must extend to all.

I AM:

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:41 – Mass Evangelism)

This verse presents a fine example of effective mass evangelism. We find mas evangelism is possible when he church responds to the challenge, prays, receives power from the Holy Spirit, proclaims the gospel, and persuades the people. When these ingredients are present in e ministry of evangelism, great results will emerge.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

News of this spread through all that region.” (Matthew 9:26 – Mass Evangelism)

The news was the parable of the six woman and the dead girl. The woman had unstoppable blood flow for 12 years reached out to touch Jesus’ garment, believing that if she would only touch his cloth she would be healed and healed she was. A ruler had sought out Jesus and told Him his daughter had died, but again in faith, he asked Jesus o touch her, believing He would heal her. In both cases, faith in Jesus proved to heal the woman and the little girl.

Our Lord’s ministry of mercy and miracle spread the news of His power far and wide. The mass’ came to Him and He did not reject them. Jesus was as concerned for the masses as He was for each individual. He wanted to see all saved and knew each might come individually to faith. As for the two individuals that Jesus healed, I believe He did just that. In the first case with the woman, He felt power leaving Him and knew someone had touched His clothing and the woman confessed it was her. With the little girl, he rewarded the ruler for his faith in Jesus, for the little girl had died, an He commanded her to stand up and that is what took place. So with these two stories I simply ask you, “How strong in your faith?”

Meditation

Sermon for 12th Sunday After Pentecost-07-24-22

Psalm 85; Hosea 1:2-10; Colossians 2:1-19; Luke 11:1-13

Our psalm this morning begins with God’s obvious intent to take His wrath away and to forgive Him people. Suffering is not something to be endured one time and then forgotten, nor does it last for a specific amount of time. There are times when we are to prepare ourselves for multiple times of His wrath. Generally because we have not learned a lesson and must be reminded that we have a responsibility as well. In a world dominated with sin, we can almost expect God’s intervention, but remember suffering does not endure forever, God’s righteousness and salvation do. The psalmist appealed on the basis of God’s former favor. He appealed to the Lord’s expression of His nature in covenant and committed himself to Hear God’s word. He looked to God in time of drought and famine, confident He would faithfully give a rich harvest.

The power of a holy, revived life is great in evangelism. Revival comes when God’s people seek forgiveness and a new sense of God’s love. All believers are to seek that constant spiritual renewing that they may be holy people, powerful in God’s hands. Holy live are vital to evangelism and revival, that we will then sense His love near us once again.

When God addressed Hosea about taking an adulterous wife and unfaithful children, it was a metaphor concerning Judea rejection of God in favor of Baal and his ways. Worship had become integral to Canaanite worship of both God and Baal. In fact the worship employed prostitutes, so men could participate in sinful rites supposed to ensure good harvests. This made adultery a powerful word o describe Israel’s rejection of God for Baal or their mixture of Baal an Yahweh worship. In short, God had been rejected in favor of Baal. As a covenant people of God, they had broken the covenant relationship with God in favor of sin and evil deeds. Beloved, how can we maintain our relationship with our Father, if we continue to live sinful and evil ways of lives? You cannot! You have to decide if you will commit to the God of all Creation, or to the god of evil! You must reject the god of evil and fully commit yourself to Almighty God, through His Son Christ Jesus.

From Colossians we see that the absence of sound teaching, distortions of truth will always rush in to fill the vacuum. Paul expressed the hope that his teachings of the believers at Philippi would establish them in the faith firmly enough to enable them to distinguish, between Christian doctrine and human philosophies parading around as religious teaching. Today, no less than in the first century, Christian education stands as a bulwark against false teaching. Such education must be grounded in Christ Jesus as Lord of life not on faith in deceptive human teachers. In Jesus of Nazareth, God was uniquely and bodily among us. Since the power of God rested in Jesus Christ. Christ overcomes all other powers. Jesus’ mark is not physical circumcision. Rather, Jesus circumcision is a symbolic expression to describe the exercising of humanity’s lower nature to bring the renewal of being in Christ. Baptism is the outward sign of the renewal. Paul employed a serious of metaphors to describe this cosmic Christ. Paul contrasted our development of character as proposes by the pagan world with the Christian approach. Motto’s are not enough. Religious rituals and prohibitions do not develop character. Personal character grows as a part of the church. Christ’s body. Only as we are directly connected with Christ do we grow and such growth leads us away from self indulgence of worldly desires to be like Christ. Sin infects even the “spiritually minded” when their speculations separate them from union with the rest of the body of Christ. Religious knowledge and spiritual experiences can be occasions for sin when they lead us to pride. Pride makes us concentrate on ourselves and our desires rather than on Christ and the needs of His church.

Jesus’ disciple asked him to teach them how to pray, and noted John had taught his disciples how to pray. Jesus’ “Model Prayer” is sightly shorter than the version in Matthew 6:9-13. It provides a form for unison prayer in public worship but is so much more. It illustrates the relationships and subjects of prayer. It encourages us to learn through practice and imitation how to pray openly to the Father for His kingdom purposes. God is holy and we should acknowledge His holiness when we approach Him in prayer. Holiness is the boundary that marks off God from all else. It is the continual reminder that God is God and humans are but His creatures. When we come before His throne of grace, we should do so reverently, with respect and awe. God is approachable but He must approached in the proper manner.

Requests for our daily bread and forgiveness of sins come after the address of praise for the holiness of God and the coming of the kingdom. The order is proper; a vertical relationships is established from individual below to God above; then, one’s relationship to others on a horizontal plane as equals in God’s sight builds out of that. Both relationships depend upon our own sense of forgiveness when we both receive and extend. We must be persisted in our prayers and never allow for fear, pride, or shame to interfere, and God will accept our holiness.

The Old Testament promised God would someday give His Spirit to His people. Jesus announced that the promised gift was available to His followers, they simply needed to ask. For Jesus’ original disciples to ask for the Spirit was to ask for God’s promised age of salvation, thus equivalent to asking for the Kingdom of God. This prayer found rich answer at Pentecost. Christ’s followers are unique because the Spirit indwells us. In time of need we can call on the Spirit for help. We can expect God to provide the Spirit’s needed presence because God is the perfect Father. Amen

Meditation

07/21/2022

I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:26) – Evangelism, Judgment)

Even the judgment of God upon the sins of people aids the evangelistic task. As God judges the rebellious people who oppress His people, all the world comes to know God as the “Redeemer” and the “Mighty One” who saves His own. This, in turn, motivates people to become one of God’s own. God’s purpose in all He does is to evangelize the world.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, there are those who simply reject the concept of a loving Creator, that seeks to be involved with His people in a variety of way. Help us to never forget that we must reach out to all equally and with the same Spirit of love that Jesus did, as He modeled the life of a true Christian while on this earth. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

God wants to do through us, what He had done to us!”

KNOWING GOD:

‘The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.’ Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” (Jeremiah 3:20-22 – Evangelism, Judgment)

This tragic word, although it had an immediate meaning to Israel, is relevant to all times and places. It is sad to think of all that has been done to share the saving grace of God in faithful evangelism and then to realize the day of opportunity is about over, and still people refuse the gospel. Little wonder the prophet was crushed. He realized God’s judgment is sure in such a situation. Healing does not come for a people who do not return to God.

I AM:

The Lord will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the land. The nations on every shore will worship him, every one in it own land.” (Zephaniah 2:11 – Evangelism, Judgment)

God’s judgment brings about evangelization. As God judges the sins of people, some learn to worship before the Lord. In sincere worship, which implies a true turning to God in repentance, they can find forgiveness and life through faith.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Sine that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. ‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purpose and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the doges came and licked his sores.’ ‘The time came when he beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was bin torment, he looked up and saw Abraham then called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finder in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham, he said,, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:27-31 – Evangelism, Judgment)

People who persistently reject salvation in Christ face eternal separation from God in hell. There they will realize how vital it is to receive God’s forgiveness and life. The rich man, even in hell, was so aware of these truths that he wanted someone to tell his brothers of he eternal fate of those who refuse Christ. The lesson is for Christians. It calls us to love the lost who face such judgment. Our witness can lead people to Christ and away from hell.

Meditation

07/20/2022

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” (Acts 3:15) – Evangelism, the Work of Christ)

The use of the term, “author” was one of many titles Jesus was called while on this earth. Peter gave a sermon whereby the whole gospel message is recorded. Jesus was the Messiah. He lived a matchless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. He calls all to repentance and faith, promising forgiveness and a new life. This the message of power, the good news we are to proclaim to all other people in all generations everywhere. It is centered on Jesus and His work. God by the Holy Spirit uses that message to convert and save the lost. It’s really not hard to understand, but we have to put Him first in our life and when we sin, we must repent of our sin and begin again to serve Him. The problem is that too many people are more concerned about themselves, that serving Christ.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, help us to never forget all that Christ did for us on the Cross, so that we might find true freedom and appreciate it. Christ did all of he hard work to show us how to proclaim the message of salvation. Now, help us to follow through by delivering the message to all those we come into contact with. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Having part time religion is like have part time work, it won’t support you!”

KNOWING GOD:

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 – Evangelism, the Work of Christ)

Beloved, the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus made salvation possible. Evangelists must lead people to Christ for salvation because salvation is not available in any other place or through any other person.

I AM:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 – Evangelism, the Work of Christ)

The love of God is the root from which comes all of the redemptive grace of God, both in giving His Son to die for sinners and in giving His Holy Spirit to dwell within believers, thus creating hope in us. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all included in this redemptive love of God. All three are a part of the process of bringing lost persons into the new life of salvation. It is the action of the Trinitarian God which saves us, not the work of any one member of the Trinity in distinction from the other two. Christ’s death demonstrated God’s absolute love for us. God made the ultimate sacrifice so we could have eternal salvation. Have you thanked Him lately?

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wring. As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. My dear children, for who I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!” (Galatians 4:12-20 – Evangelism, the Work of Christ)

Illness had forced Paul to stop his journey and stay in Galatia. There he preached the gospel. Despite the burden of caring for Paul, the Galatians treated him as God’s messenger. In sickness we need to be aware of opportunities God gives us to minister to others. Paul asked the question and I ask you as well, “Where is your joy?”Enthusiasm adds spice to life, but taken to an extreme or done as an end in itself, it can become counterproductive to the purposes of the Gospel. Enthusiasm must be a real, ongoing part of character, not as a temporary act to impress other people. We should be like a woman giving birth to a child in wanting to see Christ formed in converts. To be saved is to have Christ in us, as well as for us to be in Him. Beloved, the purity of the gospel rests on Christ’s work and not on any human achievement. Deeds done for self-satisfaction are not part of the gospel. Personal zeal does not prove one’s preaching is correct, but the Holy Spirit that is moved by the hearing of a sermons, is self-evidenced as coming through the Spirit and touching the hearts of those who hear it.

Meditation

07/19/2022

I the Lord have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:6-7) – God Involves His People)

God called His Spirit-filled servant to bring righteousness to His world and fulfill His covenant to bless the nations (Genesis 12:1-3). Jesus took the role of God’s Servant and invites us also to be God’s servants to bring God’s light to all peoples. God calls, leads, and keeps us. We respond by involving ourselves in the world’s needs and leading people to Him. There are a myriad of ways to do this, but Jesus’s best example was to reach out to people of all backgrounds with love, and offered eternal salvation.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, Jesus gave us the model of how to share Your love with them by the way we talked to them, by the way we are to teach them, and by the way we are to walk with them as equals. Guide our paths, Abba, to be effective in growing Your kingdom. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Mankind creates the distance, but Jesus builds the bridges!”

KNOWING GOD:

And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.” (Isaiah 61:5-6 – God Involves His People)

Beloved, persons who declare the gospel are seen as priests (Exodus 19:6) and ministers. They stand before God in prayer for people and minister the gospel. That depth of involvement wins others to Christ. God calls us to serve people’s needs and to evangelize the nations. Service, prayer, and proclamation are all parts of the evangelistic task.

I AM:

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—-as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (1st Corinthians 3:5-6 – God Involves His People)

Because your leaders are in Christ, they are unified. Unity is built on Christ. God’s leaders each have an assigned task. No leader has reason for personal boasting. Christians are to accept their position in evangelism. We have no power in ourselves to save anyone. We are only servants, called to share the message and ministry of evangelization so people will look to Christ and be saved.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of he fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:11-16 – God Involves His People)

All God’s people have spiritual gifts. God gives His gifted people as His gift to the church so the work of the church—–the ministry—can be carried on. This implies that we need to discover our ministry gift, develop our gift, and use our gift in ministry and service as God enables us and leads us. This is the key to effective Christian service and evangelization. Ministry and witness go hand in hand. The ultimate goal of evangelism is to develop mature Christians, not simply to multiply spiritual infants. It begins in our church sanctuary, where we hear the gospel message and then we are to take our knowledge to Sunday School to dig deeper, and finally to go out into the world to proclaim the message of the Gospel to the world around us and beyond. This is how we become infants in Christ, then identify and develop our spiritual gifts into maturity, and then into the world, as Christ Himself did.