Sunday Luke 18:9-11

Prayer: Let us learn, O God, of your mighty works and your mercy through your Word, so we can tell others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (v. 13)

It is not unusual for people to make judgments about people on the street, or driving by in the junky old car. What about the panhandler on the street corner?  Imagine in worship and one of these sitting in the next pew during confession.  Don’t we tend to think like the Pharisee in today’s text?

Our devotion writer suggests; “The world is captivated by measuring success in terms of appearance, awards, and financial status. Some who do well in life by these measures have a sense that they have features and skill sets that make them better than their contemporaries.” In other words, they have gifts and talents rewarded by wealth which makes them better than everyone else. Well that is not God’s way. God prefers those who acknowledge that they are sinners and repent.  Being humble and penitent is not a lower position.  In God’s eyes, it is the noblest!

Prayer: “Merciful God, help us to live humbly as your children, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Luke 18:9-14

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saturday 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

Prayer: O God, let your Word flow from our hearts in all we do, in Christ. Amen.

Strength to stand

17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength…

To run a marathon one needs to be prepared and in good condition. This requires training—getting our bodies in shape.  You just don’t one day get up and run 26 miles and expect to finish. In the beginning, you learn what a race feels like and then you exercise by starting with short distances and working up to the longer ones over time. This also includes rest and recovery, healthy diet and a regimen of training.

Our devotion writer explains; “In our lives as children of God, we have a training regimen that will prepare us to live out our baptismal calls. It includes spiritual disciplines, living in communities of faith, and simply allowing God to be our source of strength. So, train hard. Eat healthy. Attack challenges. Rest well. And finish your race on God’s strength.”

Paul writes to Timothy again in this second letter. He knows the time for his execution is approaching and he does not have long to live.  So he is saying his goodbye’s to his student.  He has run the race and fought the good fight for Christ. God has protected him from many threats, but now he was ready to meet Jesus face to face.

Prayer: “Help me, O God, to depend on your strength. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”


2 Timothy 4:6-8

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:16-18

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Friday Psalm 84:1-7

Prayer: Gracious and Almighty God, let your Word provide us strength and wisdom, in Christ. Amen.

God’s dwelling place

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

I guess I don’t have much of an imagination for what God’s dwelling place looks like. Does a hotel room with soft lighting clean sheets and a chocolate on your pillow seem, such as our devotion writer mentions, make you think of heaven on earth?  Maybe I just been in too many hotel rooms.  But what do you think God’s dwelling place is like? I can certainly feel the peace and comfort in a well prepared hotel room after a long day of travel.

Jesus said;

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  (John 14:2)

Our devotion writer declares; “The dwelling place God has prepared for us is more than we can imagine. God welcomes us now into a family with comforts that include peace, immeasurable grace, fellowship, and joy. What a lovely place to be!”

I can agree with that too, what a wonderful place with no more cares, no more troubles, or illness, or pain, or sorrows…Still hard to imagine what that would be like.

Prayer: “Help us appreciate being in your dwelling place, O God, now and in eternity, through Jesus Christ. Amen.”


Psalm 84

The Joy of Worship in the Temple

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.

How lovely is your dwelling place,     O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints     for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy     to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,     and the swallow a nest for herself,     where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts,     my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house,     ever singing your praise.Selah

Happy are those whose strength is in you,     in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the valley of Baca     they make it a place of springs;     the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength;     the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thursday Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22

Prayer: O God, thank you for your Word, and for always being present when I read it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

God in our midst

Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not forsake us! (v. 9)

It is the time of a great drought. Jeremiah is touched by the suffering of God’s people and so he prays in earnest to God for help.  He confirms that the Israelites have not been very faithful and God had every right to punish them, but God was still with them and they needed relief.

 20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, the iniquity of our ancestors, for we have sinned against you. 21 Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us.

Many today, have forgotten their promises to God.  Our devotion writer uses sticky notes as an example of how we are prompted to do this or that. “From billboards to bumper stickers.” Little reminders. Many of these prompt us to do the “wrong things” and point to the worldly pleasures and reinforce false gods.   This give way to the excuse “Everybody else is doing it.”  It leads to justify poor choices and sinful behavior.  “But God is right there like a perpetual sticky note. God is in the midst of us, not forsaking us, but calling us to turn and repent. As Jeremiah stipulates:”

22 …Is it not you, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for it is you who do all this.

Prayer: “God, thank you for being with me and forgiving me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”


Jeremiah 14:7-10

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Although our iniquities testify against us,     act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; our apostasies indeed are many,     and we have sinned against you. O hope of Israel,     its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land,     like a traveler turning aside for the night? Why should you be like someone confused,     like a mighty warrior who cannot give help? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,     and we are called by your name;     do not forsake us!

10 Thus says the Lord concerning this people: Truly they have loved to wander,     they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them,     now he will remember their iniquity     and punish their sins.

Jeremiah 14:19-22

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The People Plead for Mercy

19 Have you completely rejected Judah?     Does your heart loathe Zion? Why have you struck us down     so that there is no healing for us? We look for peace, but find no good;     for a time of healing, but there is terror instead. 20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,     the iniquity of our ancestors,     for we have sinned against you. 21 Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;     do not dishonor your glorious throne;     remember and do not break your covenant with us. 22 Can any idols of the nations bring rain?     Or can the heavens give showers? Is it not you, O Lord our God?     We set our hope on you,     for it is you who do all this.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wednesday Luke 22:39-46

Prayer: Merciful God, your Word is our comfort and our guide to life in this world and the next, we look forward to your teaching today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Facing dark days

44 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

This piece of Scripture should remind us that as Christ Followers the pain, sorrow, and loss in our lives is not removed from our lives. Suffering and rejection is part of a disciple’s life.  We all remember how Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and it is not a pretty picture.  He was betrayed and He would die a painful death.  On top of that He carried the weight of the sins of the world.  He sees just how bad the world can become.

Our devotion writer suggests; “Imagine the last time you felt drowned by the pain of life—the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, a serious diagnosis, loss of a job, depressions—a time when the sun no longer seemed to shine and your heart felt like it could not bear the grief. Did you let your sorrow flow? Jesus’ prayer did not relieve him of the pain, but his vulnerable posture drew him into God’s presence. Let us not be afraid to allow our sorrows to earnestly flow.”

Prayer: “Loving God, thank you for staying with us in our dark days. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.”


Luke 22:39-46

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” [[43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. 44 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] 45 When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tuesday Luke 1:1-4; 24:44-53

Prayer: O God, let your Word lead me in the way I should go, in Christ. Amen.

Luke, Evangelist

47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations,

Today on the church calendar we remember Luke, the author of the Gospel According to St. Luke. He was an evangelist in the truest sense.  Can you imagine the daunting task of writing the Gospel of Luke? He went back in interviewed people and eyewitnesses and compiled his gospel, from the birth of Jesus to His ascension.

If you have ever undertaken a task to write a family history, you might imagine what it was like for Luke. The interviewing, the questions, the rumors and the stories—to try to make sense of them and put them in order and to correct the errors.  Like our devotion writer’s example of a student project, there becomes new revelations and even some new truths both good and bad.  I remember listening with keen interest my own grandmother relating the story of their trip from North Dakota to Bellingham, Washington, in the late 1920’s.  They traveled with five kids and three adults in a canvas topped Chevrolet with luggage and keepsakes tied to the fenders.  They spent a snowy winter somewhere in a Montana one room motel waiting for the bad roads to be cleared.

Our devotion writer explains; “Luke’s passion for the good news of Jesus Christ sent him on an investigative journey to fill in the blanks, but not for history’s sake. It seems like some of the legends changed shape as he interviewed witnesses and new untold stories emerged. All of it convinced him that Jesus indeed was the Messiah. Listen not only to Luke’s words, but mirror the passion and commitment he had to mission and ministry. Be as excited as he was to proclaim the gospel and show the Messiah to new people.”

Prayer: “Gracious God, use me to share the good news, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”


Luke 1:1-4

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Dedication to Theophilus

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.


Luke 24:44-53

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension of Jesus

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy;53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

Prayer: O God, let your Word flow through my heart and mind, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Christians and lawsuits

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

Are you more trustworthy and credible because you are a Christian? One would think so, but there are many people who claim to be Christian, but perhaps their actions are suspect.  Like our devotion writer tells us about some people who appear on courtroom TV shows. The often claim their testimony is more believable because they are Christian.

So why are Christians suing other Christians in public courts?

Even though many of our courtrooms require swearing an oath on a Bible, our courtrooms are still public and non-religious in nature. Ideally we, as Christians would be able to settle our differences within our communities, fairness, public safety and moral codes.  Christians would be able to apply justice, but also grace and mercy.  Our devotion writer explains; “God’s justice is not fair or logical, but generous and steeped in second, third, and one hundredth chances. In times of crisis or disagreement, what if believers took on the position of Christ and loved sinners through forgiveness, accompanied them through their consequences, and offered a better way?”

Halley’s Bible Commentary says; “Paul suggests that it would be better for the church members to suffer the wrong inflicted by the fellow brother in Christ and be deprived of one’s fair due than to air such disputes and to be judged by unrighteous judges.”

We often hear that we shouldn’t judge others, but in today’s text we are called to make judgments in matters involving disputes and matters where people have committed sins. We are also called to use Jesus’ manner of forgiveness and mercy.

Prayer: “Merciful God, when I need to judge, help me to be the judge you would have me be. In Christ’s name. Amen.”


1 Corinthians 6:1-11

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Lawsuits among Believers

6 When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, but a believer goes to court against a believer—and before unbelievers at that?

In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—and believers at that.

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment