Devotion and Readings March 19

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Daily Devotion and Scripture

During this time when our worship life is disrupted we will be publishing various devotions, prayers, readings, etc. for our use.  All are welcome to read and share these.

COVID19 Update Announcement – Click Link

 

Here are the suggested Daily Bible Readings for March 19

Matthew 21:23-27

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

NRSV

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.
14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.
16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

NRSV

Psalms 45 & 46

Psalm 45

1 My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
2 You are the most handsome of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your glory and majesty.
4 In your majesty ride on victoriously
for the cause of truth and to defend the right;
let your right hand teach you dread deeds.
5 Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king’s enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
6 Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;
7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear;
forget your people and your father’s house,
11 and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him;
12 the people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people 13 with all kinds of wealth.
The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;
14 in many-colored robes she is led to the king;
behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.
16 In the place of ancestors you, O king, shall have sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;
therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.

NRSV

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

NRSV

 

Jeremiah 45

1 The word that the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Baruch son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah: 2 Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: 3 You said, “Woe is me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.” 4 Thus you shall say to him, “Thus says the Lord: I am going to break down what I have built, and pluck up what I have planted—that is, the whole land. 5 And you, do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for I am going to bring disaster upon all flesh, says the Lord; but I will give you your life as a prize of war in every place to which you may go.”

NRSV

 

Devotion

By Pastor David J. Tinker,

Pastor of Martin Luther Lutheran Church of Carmine, TX and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church of Carmine

Right now we are in a challenging and difficult time. Nearly everything which we do has been disrupted by our common fight against the spread of the virus noted at COVID19.  Our common activities, such as school, church, work, meals out, doctor visits, funerals, weddings, recreation, and more, have been cancelled, changed, and disrupted.

Psalm 46, verses 1-3 reminds us of the truth of God which we have experienced and lived, and which God offers to all who would believe in Jesus Christ.  The Psalmist writes, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”

To better understand this psalm, let us look to two contexts for this psalm.  We look first to the Old Testament Context.  The Old Testament Context of Psalm 46 is that of the people of Israel, around 1000 to 750 BC.  This is the time of the Kings and of Jerusalem being the center of religious and political life for the people.  The Israelites struggled against three enemies:  foreign powers, the power of the sea, and their struggle with the temptation to worship false idols.  Each of these brought chaos, division and loss to the people.

To care for them, God gave them this psalm as a source of encouragement in the midst of their fears and enemies.  His love and care, and the people’s worship and thanksgiving, were central to his presence in that place.  The Lord’s love for his people would not falter or sway.  When all else was falling apart and changing, God’s merciful goodness and grace were always present for the people.

As followers of Jesus we are reminded that Jesus, God the Son, has given himself for the world for the forgiveness of our sin.  Through his being raised from the dead, Jesus leads us beyond death to a new life founded on his goodness and love.  That love of God is offered to us in our context today.  We also face our own struggles.  Life has its ups and downs. We have all these new struggles with COVID19.  Into this we are reminded of a truth which is greater than our present struggles.  We have a hope which is more powerful than all the changes and challenges of our time.  We have the truth which was already there for us 3000 years ago.  We have what the psalmist tells us:  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”

This also reminds us of a wonderfully assuring passage in Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 8, where the author states:  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  We know that despite all the changes and challenges of life that our Lord Jesus Christ will always love us and be with us.  He has been there all along, and will be with us now and forever.

We are reminded in 1 Peter 5:7 that Jesus is there for us in the midst of all the challenges of life.  Peter tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”  We can cast all of our struggles and changes on him, and he will carry our burden.  We can cast all our broken and troubled lives on him, because he gave himself for us on the cross.  Because he has given all for us, because we can cast all of our changes and challenges on him, we can live with sure and certain hope.

Looking beyond our current struggles with COVID19, it seems more than some of us can bear.  Into this struggle our God gives us a sure and certain vision for the future.  We read in Revelation chapter 21 the following:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

 

Prayer:

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we praise you for your steadfast love for us.  During this time of health crisis help us to trust in you.  Guide us in our work together to reduce the spread of this disease.  Give strength and courage to emergency services personnel and medical workers.  Help us to see the greater future we have in you.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

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