Devotion and Readings for August 5

Eutychus_to_life

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for August 5, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Luke 11:29-32

Acts 20:6-16

Psalm 89

1 Kings 10

 

Devotion for August 5, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

Today’s reading from Acts tells the story of one of my favorite people of the New Testament.  Eutychus is only mentioned in this passage.  This young man was present at a farewell event for St. Paul.  The Apostle was heading back to Jerusalem after a missionary journey.

The scene is almost comical.  St. Paul was a long-winded preacher.  He spoke for a very long time.  One person of the congregation, a young man named Eutychus, sat in an open window.  He fell asleep and fell onto the street below. This was not a minor fall, for he fell down three stories, maybe 20-25 feet.  He died as a result of his injuries.  It appears that Paul, by God’s power, revived Eutychus, and then went on with the gathering.

I like Eutychus because his response to the sermon reminds me that we are in the real world with our faith.  We are a gathering of very normal men and women, boys and girls.  Some days we are feeling good and alert.  Other days we may be worn out or tired from what we have experienced in recent days.  When we gather for worship we have come from all sorts of contexts.  Some of us may be like Eutychus, and we may even doze off for a moment.  Others of us my not doze off, but my be distracted or just not feeling that great.

In the end, our invitation is to have a bit of grace with one another.  It is a way we can, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2.  Life can be a burden, and it may lead us to fall asleep like Eutychus did during the pastor’s sermon, or at some other seemingly inappropriate time.  In the end, we are thankful to be together.  We are thankful that God’s love is for each of us.  We are thankful that we love one another and that we can live out grace for one another in all of life’s ups and downs.

 

Prayer

Almighty God, by the love of Jesus Christ you draw people to yourself and welcome them into the household of faith. May we show your joy by embracing new brothers and sisters as we bear your creative and redeeming word to all the world. Keep us close together in your Spirit, in the breaking of bread and the prayers, and in service to others, following the example of Jesus Christ, our servant and Lord.  Amen

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for August 4

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Bible Readings and Devotion for August 4, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 12:35-40

Acts 19:35 – 20:5

Psalms 86-88 

1 Kings 9

 

Devotion for August 4, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are encouraged to, “pray without ceasing.”  This seems either wonderfully helpful or immensely difficult.  It would be difficult to do nothing but overtly pray.  How would we talk with our family?  How would we get any work done?  How would we engage in the broader ministry to which we are called by God himself?

Some have tried to take this instruction literally by a unique manner.  They will make every sentence they say include a prayer or praise of God.  An example would be, “I would like to order, praise the Lord, a Whataburger with cheese, Amen, no onion, fries, and Dr Pepper.”  This is not hyperbole at all.  I see that those who do this are striving to be faithful, but I would not interpret God’s Word to mean this.

Rather, it seems to be about having prayer throughout our day, every day.  It could be short, silent prayers, daily devotions, worship gatherings, family prayer at mealtimes, and so much more.  Instead of interrupting every sentence with prayer, it could be a model of prayer which is with us all day, bathing our actions and decisions in Holy Spirit guidance and thanksgiving.

Prayer is not just an action for the daytime. We can pray at other times, even when we are normally asleep. Our reading from Psalm 88 tells of this.  We read in Psalm 88:1-2, “O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence, let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.”

One aspect of this prayer situation is those times when we awake in the middle of the night, especially when we wish to be asleep. We often fall back asleep, but sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes we start thinking about things as we toss and turn in bed.  Sometimes we may even start worrying about one thing or another or many things. A suggestion from author and pastor Michael Foss makes sense to me.  He suggests that we use these sleepless periods to pray.  It could be time to use memorized prayers to connect with the Lord.  It could also be a time to pray for the people who come to mind, or to pray to God about the issues about which we are worrying.  Since we are awake, then use the time to work with God to find resolution.  Praying about our anxieties and problems during such waking times would be quite consistent with what the Psalm presents to us about prayer.

 

Prayer

We pray as the psalmist prays, “O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence, let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for August 3

Resurrection Easter cross flowers

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for August 3, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 12:28-34

Acts 19:21-34

Psalm 84-85

1 Kings 8

 

Devotion for August 3, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

“I love God, I just can’t stand other people.”

 

“It is just Jesus and me.”

 

These statements, and others of similar nature, may seem fine on the surface, but they end up missing something significant.  Each of these misses the point which our Lord makes in today’s reading from Mark 12.

In this passage our Lord Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment of God.  He gives a two-part answer.  He, in essence, notes that there are really two greatest commandments, and that these two are linked.  In response to the mercy, forgiveness, and love of God, we are called upon both to love God and to love our neighbor.  Jesus pulls these together and notes, “There is no other commandment greater than these.”

He does note that the first priority is to love God.  This makes sense, since God is to be our core priority.  When we look at the Ten Commandments, we observe that these begin with the three commandments regarding our relationship with God.

1 – You shall have no other gods.

2 – You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.

3 – Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

 

The Lord does not drop things at that point, and tell us, “Well, there are some other things which would be nice to do, but you can just get around to those later.  Let me know if you want to know those.”  Rather the Lord keeps it going by instructing the people, and eventually us, how to show love and care for our neighbor, for those others whom we encounter in this life.

 

4 – Honor your father and your mother.

5 – You shall not murder.

6 – You shall not commit adultery.

7 – You shall not steal.

8 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9 – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

10 – You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

 

The foundation of all of these is the First Commandment, which is to have no other gods.  As we respond to God’s love we strive to honor him with all of these.  We show our love for God by loving both God and neighbor.  We show our love for neighbor by having our lives aligned with God and his ways.  Both go hand in hand.  Both are necessary to give a godly and faithful response to what God has first done for us in Jesus Christ.

Some have noted to me over the decades that they want to get their relationship with God right before they work on the love for neighbor.  This may sound like a wonderful idea, but it will ultimately prevent us from living God’s way. Due to our sin, we will never have our relationship with God in perfect order.  Instead, we get to strive to love God and neighbor at the same time, and this will honor both the spirit and the letter of the Commandments.  It will also help us have a more well-rounded life of faith.

 

Some images I have noted before about this duel focus is this:

1 – we live our lives as followers of Jesus with one hand up in praise of God and one hand out to others in caring service.

2 – The cross is a powerful reminder of this as well.  The cross has two parts.  Without both parts it is no longer a cross.  The vertical bar of the cross reminds us to love God.  The horizontal bar of the cross reminds us to love others.

 

St. John draws this all together with what he says in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”  God has acted for us, and we get to respond with love for both God and neighbor.

 

Prayer

A prayer of Martin Luther

Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith; strengthen me. I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you. In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have. I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; you are upright. With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 9th Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, August 2, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

We resumed in-person services on the weekend of June 6-7, following the normal schedule for both MLLC and Waldeck.  The Facebook Live services will be offered on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. from Waldeck, and at 10:00 a.m. from MLLC.

Below are the readings, prayers, and Sunday sermon.

 

Remember Your Regular Offerings

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For both of our congregations, Waldeck and MLLC, please remember that our expenses continue even when we are unable to meet as usual.  Please make a point to give your offerings as you would on a typical week.  Here are some ideas of what to do:

For Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ledbetter:

– send your offering by mail to the church office  – Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church; 6915 Waldeck Church Lane; Ledbetter, TX 78946

– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.

For MLLC in Carmine:

– send your offering by mail to the church office  – MLLC, P O BOX 362, Carmine, TX 78932-0362

– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.

– give offerings through the church web site:  mllccarmine.com/online-giving  This page has a link to our secure giving page.  Offerings can be made by bank draft, debit card, or credit card through this special web site.

 

AUGUST 2, 2020

THE NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-5

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 55th chapter.

God invites Israel to a great feast at which both food and drink are free. God also promises to make an everlasting covenant with all peoples, with promises that previously had been limited to Israel. As David was a witness to the nations, these nations shall now acknowledge the ways in which God has glorified Israel.

And now the reading.

1Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

 

Psalm: Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21

R:  Psalm 145, read responsively by verse.

8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9Lord, you are good to all,
and your compassion is over all your works. 
14The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up those who are bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17You are righteous in all your ways
and loving in all your works. 
18You are near to all who call upon you,
to all who call upon you faithfully.

19You fulfill the desire of those who fear you;
you hear their cry and save them.
20You watch over all those who love you,
but all the wicked you shall destroy.
21My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord;
let all flesh bless God’s holy name forever and ever. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5

R:  A reading from Romans, the 9th chapter.

This begins a new section in Paul’s letter in which he will deal with the place of Israel in God’s saving plan. He opens by highlighting how Israel’s heritage and legacy include being God’s children, having God’s covenants, being given God’s law, participating in worship of God, and receiving divine promises.

And now the reading.

1I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit—2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 14th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

After John the Baptist is murdered, Jesus desires a time of solitude. Still, his compassion for others will not allow him to dismiss those who need him, and he is moved to perform one of his greatest miracles.

And now the reading.

13Now when Jesus heard [about the beheading of John the Baptist], he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

The gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Sea of Galilee EilersSea of Galilee photo, courtesy of Nancy Eilers

Devotion

“The Greatest Meal”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In 2005 I went to visit a man named Howard Seitz.  He was in his last week or so of life before his death from cancer. While visiting with Howard, his wife, Mildred, made some pizza for the two of us to eat.  It was simple, and we were quiet as we ate in his room.  It was the two of us appreciating our food, our friendship, and God’s gift of that day.  It was a wonderful abundance in a time of difficulty.

Today we hear the story of the Feeding of the 5000.  This is the one ministry miracle of Jesus which is in each of the 4 Gospel books.  We hear about how the people listening to Jesus’ teaching were hungry after so much time without food.  The disciples suggest the people just leave, but Jesus tells them to give the people something to eat.  All they can muster up are 5 small loaves of bread and two fish.  Jesus takes these, gives thanks and blesses them, and this miraculously becomes enough food to feed many thousands of people.  There were even a dozen basketfuls of leftovers.

This event was, in part, about giving the people food.  But it was about so much more.  Just as so much in the Bible is about something more, so was this.  This event points us toward the greater feast to come.  Our reading from Isaiah 55 tells a bit about this.  It teaches us that the greater things God has in store for us are in the context of a communal meal in eternity.  This message is shown again in some way in the teachings of Jesus and in the visions shown us in the book of Revelation.  We are invited to connect with God through these delightful meals.  God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is in the center of it all, and we are with God and his people as we feast in great joy.

Ultimately, this miracle and the visions of eternity are not really about food at all.  Rather, these are about our connection with God.  With this wonderful connection with God and the meal we get the benefit of knowing our Lord and appreciating all that he has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus teaches us that life is more than about figuring where our next meal is coming from.  Even though life is to be more than about food, God continues to use food to help us be connected with him.  The most wonderful thing we have in this life which uses food for this purpose is the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion.  This is a foretaste to a truly great meal.  That truly great meal is yet to come.

In First Corinthians, chapter 11, we are pointed to that greatest meal.  When Paul teaches about the Holy Communion, he states the following: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

So, in the Holy Communion, we have a small piece of bread and a small drink of wine.  We are connected with the Lord, and we are blessed with the forgiveness of our sin.  On its own, the meal of bread and wine is not very satisfying.  Author Donna Tartt notes the following about rituals such as Holy Communion: “…any religious ritual is arbitrary unless one is able to see past it to a deeper meaning.”

Holy Communion gets its meaning and depth by getting us connected with God’s Word, God’s promises, and the feast to come.

God’s Word shows us that this greatest meal is about the suffering and death on the cross of Jesus for our sin.  The Word tells us that God’s forgiveness is brought to us by this meal. The Word is what ties everything together in this Sacrament.

In First Holy Communion Class I teach about the four parts of our Lutheran Understanding of the Sacrament.  These are:

The Elements – the Bread and the Wine

The Congregation – the people of God gathered

The Pastor – who leads and teaches about what this holy meal is all about, sort of like a coach with a team.

The Word of God – which is God’s power brought to bear on the gathering of the other three parts.  It is what reminds us again and again about the Promises of the Lord.

 

God’s Promises assure us that we are forgiven of our sin, and that our future is in God’s good and gracious care.

The Feast to Come is our eternal fellowship with the Lord.  Over and over in scripture this wonderful eternity with God is expressed as the greatest and grandest meal of all.  It is like a marriage feast, but so much better.

Weddings are wonderful events, yet these also can point to our greater connection with our loving God.  This is part of the Marriage Blessing I use at many weddings:

“Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast forever in your heavenly home, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”

Wedding and the feasts which often follow are wonderful events.  As Christians, these point to the greatest meal of all.  These are small celebrations which remind us over and over again that God loves and forgives us.  Like that meal of pizza which I enjoyed with my friend Howard, these grand meals remind us that together we get to have a relationship with the Lord.  These show us that God will keep providing for our spiritual journey with the Lord, both now and forever.

Let us pray:  God of Grace and Glory, we give thank for the meals in our lives, both daily bread and grand celebrations.  Help us each day to see that these give us a small foretaste of the greater things you have for us in eternity.  We pray this in the holy name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

*Prayers of Intercession

A:  Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

A brief silence.

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you seek us out in the midst of our broken lives.  Help us to respond to you with worship and praise.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for the leaders of our city.  Guide our mayor, city council and city administrator in their leadership.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for your strength and presence for those who mourn.  Help us to offer care and support for those who remember those who rest in you.   (We especially remember…)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

We ask that you would bring healing, strength and hope to those who struggle in mind, body, or spirit, especially . . .  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…  We pray that you will be their help and their shield.   Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We pray for the ministry of Lutheran Disaster Response.  Help this cooperative relief agency to bring help to those whose lives have been shattered by natural disasters.    Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer. 

By your mercy we ask that you help us to grow in our service to our neighbors in need.  Stir in us renewed joy in giving sacrificially of our time, care and resources for the benefit of others. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

P:  Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

 

LORD’S PRAYER 

Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #27061.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Devotion and Readings for August 2

Heaven Dore

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for August 2, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 12:18-27

Acts 19:11-20

Psalms 81, 83

1 Kings 7

Devotion for August 2, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

Many times, but not every time, numbers have meaning in the Bible.  Today’s reading from Mark 12 points to one of these meaningful uses of number in God’s Word.

The special number used is 3.  We see noted the following in Mark 12:26 which shows us the three:  Jesus said, “And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?”

While the word “three” nor the numeral “3” is specifically noted here, we have a set of three used.  We have the name of God listed as the Lord notes, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  It lists the truth of the three Patriarchs of Ancient Israel.  The names point to a connection with the Lord.

The number 3 is the number for things of God and heavenly things in the Bible.  The most prominent examples of this are times when God reveals his names.  We have the one above from the Old Testament.  We have the name revealed by Jesus for God in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

The number 4 is the number of things of earth.  We think of the four points of the compass, North, South, East, and West.  We have the historic elements of the ancient world, earth, air, water and fire.  We have this in Revelation 5:6, “Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures…” as part of God’s connection to things we understand in the world.

Then we have two special combinations of three and four which tell us about God’s connection with us in the world.

3 + 4 = 7

3 x 4 = 12

 

So, when you see a 7 or 12 in the Bible, consider how this is telling us about a connection between God and humanity.

When you see multiplications of these main numbers (3, 4, 7, and 12), such as 7×7, 77, 7X70, 144, 144,000, etc. these are simply amplifications or hyperbole of things of heaven, earth, or of God’s connection with us.  Sometimes these multiplications are a way of saying, “a great multitude,” or, “a long time,” as these relate to God and the world.

The number 6 is less than 7, and it is typically a sign of something not of God or contrary to God.  See the reference to 666 in Revelation 13:18.

These are simply some pieces of information to give you more insight into God’s Word.  You are invited to pay attention to the words and numbers in scripture, for these things matter more than we might think at first.  God’s Word is given to us so that we can be shown the great things the Lord has done for us, especially the work of Jesus Christ.  He is the one who suffered, died, and was raised from the dead for the forgiveness of our sin.  These are given to us so that we might have life in his name.

On a related note, the verses and chapters of scripture were placed in the books centuries after the books were written.  These are not part of the revealed word of God, and there is no reason to look to chapter and verse numbers as magical or mystical messages.  There may be some interesting coincidences, but not special meaning.  The chapters and verses are a tool to quickly find a specific passage within the various books.  This universal system works between different languages and translations. The chapter numbers in the Psalms are like the hymn numbers in a hymnal, and these have more historical connection to the book being assembled.

 

Prayer

O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for August 1

Solomon Build Temple

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for August 1, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 12:13-17

Acts 19:1-10

Psalm 78:41-73 and Psalm 80

1 Kings 6

Devotion for August 1, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

In our chapter today from First Kings we have read about the specifics of the construction and design of the First Temple in Jerusalem.  This was built under the direction of King Solomon during the early years of his reign. \

Central to all of this was the purpose of this building.  It was to be the central connection point between the Lord and his people. The symbolic presence of the Lord, the Ark of the Covenant, was to be place in the innermost chamber of the Temple. The Ark of the Covenant was the sacred box or ark which contained three sacred objects.

The 2nd copy of the tablets of the Ten Commandments – the originals were destroyed in the wrath following the people making the false idol of the Golden Calf.  This is noted in Exodus 32.

A jar of the Manna.  This was the edible, bread like substance which was provided to the Hebrews as food during their forty years in the wilderness.  This was first provided in Exodus 16.

Aaron’s Staff, which had miraculously sprouted buds long after it had dried.  We read about this in Numbers 17.

 

Each of these reminded the people of God’s gracious provision of the Word and Law, their daily bread, and spiritual leadership.  God was with the people through these loving means, and he was with the people as he dwelled in the Temple among the people in Jerusalem.

The Temple was a temporary measure and a reminder of the greater sanctuary in Heaven.  We read in Hebrews 8:5, “They (the Temple Priests) offer worship in a sanctuary that is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly one; for Moses, when he was about to erect the tent, was warned, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.””

The new and eternal connection with God is worked out through what Jesus has done for us.  We are given a new Temple, Priest and Sacrifice in Jesus.  By God’s Mercy we are made into temples of the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”  God sets up a dwelling place in us, so that wherever we are, God is with us.  Wherever we worship God in Spirit and Truth, God is with us.  Jesus teaches us that, “For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among (or within) you.” Luke 17:21. Each person of faith in Jesus is, in this earthly life, by God’s grace, the redeemed dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit.

In the end, the heavenly dwelling place and the earthly dwelling place will be with God’s people.  In Revelation 21:3b, St. John receives the revelation of God 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…”

Until that day, we get the joyful opportunity to be with God, as he is with us, every day.  We get to be the earthly model of the heavenly dwelling place of God.  Because of this, we have the calling to honor the Lord by living out his will for us.

1 – to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

2 – to love our neighbors as ourselves.

3 – to love one another in the community of faith

4 – to tell the world of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

 

 

Prayer

Into your hands, almighty God, we place ourselves: our minds to know you, our hearts to love you, our wills to serve you, for we are yours. Into your hands, incarnate Savior, we place ourselves: receive us and draw us after you, that we may follow your steps; abide in us and enliven us by the power of your indwelling. Into your hands, O hovering Spirit, we place ourselves: take us and fashion us after your image; let your comfort strengthen, your grace renew, and your fire cleanse us, soul and body, in life and in death, in this world of shadows and in your changeless world of light eternal, now and forever. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for July 31

Jesus Road 2

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for July 31, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 12:1-12

Acts 18:24-28

Psalm 78

1 Kings 5

 

Devotion for July 31, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

Life with Jesus is a long and winding road.  It is not just one event.  It is a journey with many stops and turns, all while traveling toward the core goal, life with Jesus, now and forever and every day in between.

In our reading today from Acts chapter 18, we have an account of the first connections with Apollos.  Our reading notes that, “He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord…” Apollos knew that the life of a follower of Jesus was a journey. This journey is a way of life, a manner of being, and an ongoing relationship with Jesus.  Our reading indicates that he knew much, but needed more instruction in the faith, but he was already on the right track.

The early Church spoke of the teachings and life with Jesus being, “the Way.”  From the beginning our life with Jesus has always been such a thing.  St. Paul refers to the life of a Christian being like a race. We read this in 2 Timothy 4:7, where he writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Finishing is important.  With God’s help we remain faithful day after day, all through the end of our earthly life.

As I noted earlier, there are many stops and turns along the way.  There are also power boosts (to use an image from video gaming) and times of rest.  There can be deeply spiritual moments in life.  There can be events, retreats, moments at worship, moments of devotion, moments during service to others, and more, which give us a boost.  There are times when we simply rest in the mercy of God.  There are times when we have changes in life which give us pause.  These stops make us reflect on what is truly important.  These stops can help us reset our direction toward Jesus, for sometimes we go astray of the way.

Life with Jesus is a long and winding road.  It is not just one event.  It is a journey with many stops and turns, all while traveling toward the core goal, life with Jesus, now and forever and every day in between.

 

Prayer

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful redeemer, for the countless blessings and benefits you give. May we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day praising you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for July 30

RichMullins1
Photo:  Singer and songwriter Rich Mullins

Bible Readings and Devotion for July 30, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 11:27-33

Acts 18:12-23

Psalms 75, 76, 79, 82

1 Kings 4

 

Devotion for July 30, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

In my youth in the 1970s and 1980s there was a new slang term used by many.  It took a long-established word and transformed the use into an almost silly term.  In some cases, this word became something that was said by people who were often dismissed by others as unintelligent or even confused by the effect of drugs.  Sadly, when it was used in the proper and original context many others would treat it as though the speaker was just a silly youth.

The word about which I write is, “awesome.”  This word, in its long-standing definition, is a perfect word to describe God.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word as, “Adjective:  extremely impressive or daunting, inspiring awe, example – the awesome power of the atomic bomb.”

The dictionary also recognizes that an informal use of the word includes, “adjective: extremely good, excellent, as in, the band is truly awesome! And adverb: extremely well, excellently – my yearly review went awesome.”

Our reading from Psalm 76:7 reminds us of the truly great nature of the Lord.  When addressing the Lord, the psalmist notes, “But you indeed are awesome!”  This is very much the more formal and long standing definition of this powerful word.

If we were to use the informal definition in reference to our God, then it would be grossly understating things.  When we speak about our God as being, “awesome,” we are not saying he is like a good wave for surfing, or that we had a good day.  We are talking about the creator of all that exists.  We are talking about the almighty God who has lovingly humbled himself to meet us in human life, sin and death, so that we might have life.  We are talking about the God who suffered and redeemed us from the power of sin, death and evil.  We are talking about the found of true, self-giving love.  This is not a minor thing.  Nothing is greater than God.  Nothing even comes close when compared to our amazing and awesome God.

Many years ago the now late Rich Mullins wrote and performed a song about the supreme awesome nature of our loving God.  This video link includes the song and lyrics.

 

 

Prayer

For today’s prayer I suggest you pray through this great hymn of the church.

 

Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Text: Walter Chalmers Smith, 1824-1908, alt.

 

1    Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise!

 

2    Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;

thy justice like mountains high soaring above

thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

 

3    To all, life thou givest, to both great and small;

in all life thou livest, the true life of all;

we blossom and flourish like leaves on the tree,

and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.

 

4    Thou reignest in glory; thou dwellest in light;

thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;

all laud we would render; oh, help us to see

’tis only the splendor of light hideth thee! Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion for July 28 & 29

Solomon Baby Dore

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for July 28-29, 2020

A note from Pastor David Tinker:

Today marks the return of the daily devotions.  I have been on vacation the past two weeks.  I have greatly appreciated the long needed rest and refreshment.  Thank you for your patience during this time without these daily offerings.

 

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

July 28

Mark 11:12-19

Acts 17:22-34

Psalm 71, 73

1 Kings 2

 

July 29

Mark 11:20-26

Acts 18:1-11

Psalm 74, 77

1 Kings 3

 

 

Devotion for July 28 & 29, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

In our readings from First Kings we have the transition of power between King David and his son, King Solomon.  A major part of this transition is the prayer of Solomon for wisdom.  Wisdom, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is, “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.”

Wisdom is a good thing, and we have notable sections of scripture dedicated to wisdom.  We look to the Old Testament books of Proverbs, Ecclesiasts, and some aspects of Psalms, Song of Solomon, along with accounts of Moses and King Solomon earlier in the Hebrew Bible.  We also see wisdom in the life and teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament.

Right after the request for wisdom, we are given an example of his wisdom.  This is in the context of one of the less talked about role of kings and leaders of that time.  They were looked upon to resolve conflicts and make judgments.  They were often called upon to resolve conflicts both large and small.  This was almost a sort of mix between small claims court all the way up to the supreme court all in one person.  They were also expected to bring the wisdom and word of God to apply to the situation.

The burden of this role was so much on Moses that he was advised to delegate the role to a large number of other people.  We read about this in chapter 18 of Exodus.  It was just too much for Moses or any one person to bear.

King Solomon had this role of judge for the people.  We do not know how often he did this, nor what percentage of the cases in Israel he had to hear.  What we have is an example of how he did this and how he used God’s gift of wisdom to judge cases.  In 1 Kings 3:16-28 we have the account of his judgement between two women who were fighting over one living baby.  Solomon’s wisdom was expressed in that he knew the true mother would rather let her child go than to see the baby die. When Solomon give the order to have the child cut in half and split between the two arguing women, the true mother begs to spare the child, and the grieving, yet false mother give the go ahead to cut the child.  Solomon give the child to the true mother.  Solomon would not really kill the child. In his wisdom he elicited the reaction he needed to judge the case.

We can all benefit from wisdom.  Here are a few time-tested ways to gain greater, godly wisdom.

One is to do what Solomon did:  pray to God the for greater wisdom.  No matter our role in family, church, work, or community, we all can benefit from more God given wisdom.

Another tool is to read from the book of Proverbs.  It has been suggested by many teachers over time that a person can use the monthly calendar to read through this book.  There are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  So, in August, you can include in your Bible reading a chapter from Proverbs each day.  The proverbs are not really a story or extended statement.  You will notice that most are about one verse long.

 

Proverbs are to be taken as part of a larger package of wisdom.  Each proverb is a facet on a finely cut gemstone.  One facet along is nice, but not grand.  When one pulls back and looks at the entire gemstone one sees the beauty of the whole.  Reading just one proverb and basing much on that is less helpful.  Reading whole chapters, and the whole book, will give one a much better and more complete view of Biblical wisdom.

As you read your proverbs chapter each day in August, I encourage you to pray for an increase in godly wisdom in your life.

 

 

Prayer

Gracious and Holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you. Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on you; eyes to behold you; ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you; and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for July 14

Cross Crown white

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for July 14, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 8:22-26

Acts 13:42-52

Psalms 32, 36, 38 

2 Samuel 12

 

Devotion for July 14, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

There is an old saying that, “God watches us through the eyes of little birds.”  I don’t really believe that birds do this, for God is greater and more powerful than to need to rely upon little birds to watch us.  It is actually creepy to me more than anything else.  What gives me comfort is that God cares about our lives in great detail.  God is with us no matter what.  God is there to carry us through the highs and lows of life.  God is there to see our sin, and to see that we understand his immense mercy and forgiveness.

In Psalm 32:5 we read, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”  This reminds us that there is no use or benefit for us to hide from God.  We are unable to do this anyway.

In light of God’s amazing and abundant love, mercy, and forgiveness, it is actually good that our lives our open to our God.  By God’s Spirit we are opened up to understand that God is for us.  We get to be reminded that the Lord desires life and hope and forgiveness for us.  With this in mind, we are invited to work out the problems of our sins as we relate with our Lord.

Part of that ongoing act of working things out with God includes what verse 5 notes, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”  Talking about this with God in prayer is essential to our work.  When we can talk about it, in quiet prayer, corporate confession, or in private, confessional, Christian conversation, we get it out in the open between us and God. If we can talk about it, we can deal with it.  God wants us to deal with is, so we are invited to talk about it.

There are at least two benefits of dealing with our sin.  One is that we can address the issues and let it go to God, which brings relief.  The other is that we can receive God’s caring forgiveness.  God desires that we have life.  Forgiveness of our sin brings life.

We give thanks that God see us, God watches us, as we move through this life.  It is good that he does pay attention, for we need to address our sin and the results of sin which have entered our lives.  God pays attention to see us sin, but even more so, to forget our sin.

 

Prayer

“Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!” Psalm 25:7  Amen