Two weeks away from the beginning of Advent! This coming Sunday’s sermon is called, “Let Justice Roll,” and it comes from Amos 5:18-24. This continues the theme of the preaching between now and Christmas.
Daily Bible Reading:
Monday, November 13. Read Matthew 7:15-20. 1) What does Jesus warn people about in this text? 2) Why? 3) What will a “bad” tree produce?
Tuesday, November 14. Read Matthew 23:27-28. 1) Of what did Jesus say the scribes and Pharisees reminded him? 2) Why did he say this?
Wednesday, November 15. Read Matthew 15:8-9. 1) What did Jesus say hypocrites do? 2) What similarities do you see to that today? 3) When do you become guilty of this?
Thursday, November 16. Read Exodus 22:21; Matthew 25:31-46. 1) When do we have opportunity to minister to Jesus? 2) What is the outcome for all those who live in this way.
Friday, November 17. Read James 1:26-27. 1) About what does James accuse those who don’t control their tongues? 2) What is pure religion, in James’ view? 3) What does it look like today?
Saturday, November 18. Read Amos 5:18-24. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
Lord, open our eyes that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew in us your spirit. Lord, free us and make us one.
In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen .
A prayer from Mother Teresa
Hymn of the Week:
There is a Sea
by Lula Klingman Zahn, 1921
There is a sea which, day by day, Receives the rippling rills
And streams that spring from wells of God, Or fall from cedared hills;
But what it thus receives it gives With glad, unsparing hand.
And a stream more wide with deeper tide Pours out to a lower land.
There is a sea which day by day Receives a fuller tide;
But all its store it keeps, nor gives To shore nor sea beside;
Its Jordan stream, now turned to brine Lies heavy as molten lead;
Its dreadful name doth e’er proclaim That sea is waste and dead.
Which shall it be for you and me, Who God’s good gifts obtain?
Shall we accept for self alone, Or take to give again?
For He who once was rich indeed Laid all His glory down,
That by His grace, our ransomed race Should share His wealth and crown.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Compassion | Do they move you to action?
by Alan Smith
The following short story comes from an unknown author, but most of us can recognize it as something that could happen in any home with children.
I’d had a pretty hectic day with my four-year-old. When bedtime finally came, I laid down the law: “We’re putting on your pajamas, brushing your teeth, and reading ONE book. Then it’s lights out!”
Her arms went around my neck in a gentle embrace, and she said, “We learned in Sunday school about little boys and girls who don’t have mommies and daddies.”
Even after I’d been such a grouch, I thought, she was still grateful to have me. I felt tears begin to well up in my eyes, and then she whispered, “Maybe you could go be THEIR mom?”
You would think that being aware of others who are in need would make us more appreciative of what we have. That’s not always the case. I can remember growing up hearing those words every child — at least, many a child in the U.S. — heard when we complained about not wanting to eat what was being served for dinner. “You need to eat your vegetables. There are children in China who are starving right now.”
My first reaction was usually to think, “How is my eating this plate of food going to help them?”
My second reaction was usually to think, “How about if we just stick this food in an envelope and ship it off to them?”
Unfortunately, being aware of others who are in need does not always make us more appreciative of what we have — while it should, it often doesn’t. Being aware of people in the world who are suffering famine doesn’t seem to make us appreciate that we have plenty of food. Being aware of Christians in the world who are being persecuted for their faith doesn’t seem to make us appreciate that we have freedom of religion. Being aware of people in the world who have no family or friends doesn’t seem to make us appreciate that we have both.
Sadly, it seems, often the only thing that makes us appreciate something is having it removed from our own lives for a while. Think about it. When do you most appreciate the fact that you enjoy electricity and running water? I’m guessing that if you’re like me that it’s after you’ve had one or the other unavailable for a while.
In the prophets, God repeatedly rebuked his people for ignoring the needs of people all around them. Perhaps more than any other sin, the Israelites were guilty of a lack of compassion:
Woe to you … Who lie in beds of ivory, stretch out on your couches, eat lambs from the flock and calves in the midst of the stall … who drink wine from bowls, and anoint yourselves with the best ointments, but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph (Amos 6:3-6 NKJV).
Open your eyes to the needs of those around you. Take advantage of opportunities to help those whom you can. And allow the needs of others to cause you to reflect on how blessed you are, and the responsibility you have to use what God has blessed you with in a way that will glorify Him.