3 devotions based on this coming Sunday’s (11th after Pentecost) Scripture Readings
11th Sunday after Pentecost-Old Testament
TEXT: Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
TITLE: God’s Open House of Prayer
“For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isa. 56:7b
There’s a story of a Spanish family that came to abide in a small, peaceful, church-going community in South Texas. The father and mother found work doing manual labor in the fields surrounding the town and the three young boys entered the public school. A problem arose when it was found out that the three boys had AIDS. The boys were considered HIV ‘lepers’ and shunned. Soon, this family was asked to move by people both in their church and community. The fear and anger got so great their home got burned to the ground leaving them no other choice but to return to Mexico.
Laws and control over illegal aliens is a political issue that needs to be addressed by due process by the Kingdom of the Left. However, how we treat our neighbor is one for the Church; the Kingdom of the Right. The church of Isaiah’s day became insular, caring only for its own and shutting out foreigners. Our text reminds us God’s House of Prayer is for all nations. There are no foreigners to God and His House of Prayer. Jesus became ‘foreign’ to His Father who forsook Him for the price of our sins. Jesus love toward all
people has brought all believers together as a family of God.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us honor your House of Prayer by helping us share Your love with others, in Jesus Name, Amen.
11th Sunday after Pentecost-Epistle
TEXT: Romans 11:1-2a, 13-15, 28-32
“For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all.” Rom.11:32
“Signs” a 5-Man Electrical Band song of the early seventies, contains lyrics that protest the rules made by the establishment of that day. One lyric states-“The sign says you have to have a membership card to get inside.” Exclusivity! Not so with the Kingdom of God! The door to heaven is open for all people. Paul makes a special point to include both Jews and Gentiles in this text.
But before anyone, Jew or Gentile, think they have some sort of exclusive rights and privileges, Paul reminds us that we are all sinners. We’ve the sign-‘Sinner’ above our life’s personal ledger. Once, Jesus had a sign above His head that read, “King of the Jews.” Though rejected by His own people-the Jews and put to death by the Gentile establishment; Jesus paid the price for our sins. Thus, He erased that sign-‘Sinner’ from the Book of Life and stamped a sign of His own; ‘Forgiven!’ This is the mercy of which our text speaks. Though we’re undeserving, Jesus still provided His mercy. He once proclaimed, “I am the door;” the door to heaven. No sign above that door or membership card required to get inside; only free passage by grace through faith in Jesus! Today, that sign-‘King’ remains above Him and will for all eternity!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your sign for us, “mercy!”in Jesus Name, Amen
11th Sunday after Pentecost-Gospel
TITLE: Dogged Determination
“Yes Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.” Matt.15:27
I had a dog once named Sparky. The thing with Sparky was, when he grabbed onto his ‘play sock’ he wouldn’t let go. I could pull him off the ground and spin him in circles and he wouldn’t let go. The woman of our text was a lot like Sparky! The Bible says, “God indeed tempts no one,” but He will test us. Jesus put this Canaanite woman to the test; 3 of them to be exact! Test 1-He gives her the silent treatment; Test 2-Jesus tells her He’s not sent except to the lost sheep of Israel to which she was not a part.
Finally Test 3; He indirectly calls her a name by saying, “It’s not right to take the children’s food and toss it to the dogs.” Instead of taking offense to Jesus dog remark, she claimed it and like Sparky, wouldn’t let go till Jesus blessed her. She turned Jesus words into words of faith by saying though she be a dog (Gentile) she was at least like a ‘family dog’ happy with the crumbs; knowing even the ‘crumbs’ would be enough to answer her request. He would have us ‘not let go’ either as He desires to answer our every persistence prayer according to His perfect will and love.
Dear Heavenly Father, may Your Spirit ever keep us persistent in seeking Your Will, in Jesus Name, Amen.