3 Devotiones related to the upcoming 17th Sunday after Pentecost
17th Sunday after Pentecost-Old Testament
TEXT: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
TITLE: Looking For Hope
“Rid yourselves from all your offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.” Ezekiel 18:31
“Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth, yea, doubtless, with many that are in this congregation, who may be are at ease, than He is with the many who of those who are now in the flames of hell!” Those are the words of Jonathan Edwards in his 1741 sermon, ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Apparently colonial America was not much better than the nation of Israel at this time
prior to their Babylonian captivity. Ezekiel delivers strong words from an angry God, but also words of hope.
As we consider the sins of our nation today such as Abortion, and acceptance of homosexuality as a ‘chosen lifestyle,’ including discussed legislation calling for preaching against homosexuality a “hate crime.” We, as a nation needn’t be surprised if God were angry with us. The hope for our nation as well as we, as individual sinners is found in turning to God and to repent. Our only hope is found in Jesus. He has already provided forgiveness for the world of its sins on the cross. Through faith in Jesus, we become new persons, with a new heart and spirit. Praise God for His eternal grace!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your love and forgive and create in us and our nation a right spirit, in Jesus Name, Amen.
TEXT: Phil.2:1-4, (5-13), 14-18
TITLE: Christian Idol
“But in humility, consider others better than yourself.” Phil.2:3b
“Why do you deserve to be the next American Idol?” Simon Cowell asked the program’s try-out. “Because I have a unique and beautiful voice with a personality to match!” said the hopeful contestant flashing her most glamorous of smiles. “Well then let’s see what you got!” said Simon. The music begins, her mouth opens, and all that comes out is something that resembles a mournful cry of a shot and dying peacock! Simon, with wide-eyes and a blank stare looks at Paula, and Paula looks at Randy. They all wince as though feeling the pain themselves and shout in unison, “That’s enough! The vote: No! No! No!” Their decision was swift.
It’s fair to say, the panel looks for individuals who carry and display a form of confidence and assurance. We as Christians are blessed to also have a confidence and assurance in regard to our faith. However, our confidence and assurance rests on God’s abilities, not ours. The ‘Idol’ example is in stark contrast to the words recorded above. Instead, our attitude should be as Christ Jesus-humble, not self-serving; witnessed in His willingness to sacrifice Himself for others; namely you and me. Though it’s our nature to be ‘Idol-like’ in our attitude, by God’s Spirit and grace working through us, we all can be the person God has called us to be, with Godly confidence and assurance.
Dear Heavenly Father, humble my heart and keep me faithful in doing Your Will, in Jesus Name, Amen.
17th Sunday after Pentecost-Gospel
TEXT: Matthew 21:23-27 (28-32)
TITLE: By Who’s Authority?
“By what authority are you doing these things and who gave you this authority? Mt.21:23b
The questioning of authority for most of us begins in the family at a very early age. Some say it starts at the ‘terrible twos’ with the patent answer of “NO” to every authoritative directive. Not long after, parental authority is questioned with the standard-“How come I have to go to bed so early?” Adolescent and teen years are when authority questioning is at its zenith: “This dress is not that short!” “Why can’t I get a driver’s license and use the car?”
The Pharisees were questioning Jesus’ authority in our text. Neither did they respect His or John the Baptist’s authority. Knowing this, Jesus them a question: “John’s ministry; was it from God or man?” Out of fear the people knowing that they believed John’s ministry came from God, they could give Jesus no answer. Hence, He did not answer their authority question. Thus, He utilized His authority over the Pharisees by His silence.
We, as God’s Children know we’re blessed to hear our Father’s Word which carries not only authority, but power. They are words designed to bless and care for us as a loving parent’s care for their family. Instead of questioning God, our willing, worshipful response toward His great Majesty and Authority is, “Speak Lord, your servant listens.”
Dear Heavenly Father, give us wise and discerning hearts in following authority that is Godly and ordained by You, in Jesus Name, Amen