Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, September 7. Read Deuteronomy 6:10-13. 1) What were the Israelites going to experience when they came into Canaan? 2) What did Moses warn them about? 3) What could cause them to forget?
Tuesday, September 8. Read Deuteronomy 32:15-18. 1) How does Moses describe Israel in this text? 2) In what ways does this resemble the West at this moment of time?
Wednesday, September 9. Read Hebrews 10:32-39. 1) How does the Hebrews writer describe this church in the “early days”? 2) Still, what does he warn them about? 3) What could cause this?
Thursday, September 10. Read Micah 7:18-19. 1) How does Micah describe God? 2) What does God delight to do? 3) How do you consciously respond to what God does for you?
Friday, September 11. Read Deuteronomy 6:10-13. 1) What was God about to do? 2) What will be the condition of the land and buildings that would become Israel’s? 3) What did God expect from his people as a result?
Saturday, September 12. Read Psalm 103:8-13. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
A Prayer based upon Psalm 103
Lord of steadfast love and mercy,
Through your Word, you have set promises before your people.
Promises for good and not for evil,
Promises for care and not for harm,
Promises fulfilled through life and death,
Promises realized through sorrow and joy.
You have washed us clean, and guided us in righteousness.
Eternal is your Word and life-altering your love.
Still, we have strayed all too often and trusted too little.
Our words have been cold, and our hearts closed off.
In emptiness we have trusted and falseness we have acted.
Yet you have washed us clean, and guided us in righteousness.
Eternal is your Word and life-altering your love.
In these seasons of giving and thanksgiving,
remind us of that love which knows no bounds.
Guide us in your desire for justice and forgiveness.
And teach us to give, even as you are giving.
In the name of your Son Jesus Christ, we pray.
Hymn of the Week:
Brief Life is Here Our Portion
by Bernard of Cluny, 1145 AD
Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow, short-lived care;
The life that knows no ending,
The tearless life is there.
O happy retribution,
Short toil, eternal rest;
For mortals and for sinners
A mansion with the blest.
There grief is turned to pleasure,
Such pleasure as below
No human voice can utter,
No human heart can know.
For he whom now we trust in
Shall then be seen and known,
And they that know and see him,
Shall have him for their own.
The morning shall awaken,
The shadows shall decay,
And each true-hearted servant
Shall shine as doth the day.
Then all the halls of Zion
For ay shall be complete,
And in the Land of Beauty,
All things of beauty meet.
Devotional Article of the Week:
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 for 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 for 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, 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 from 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.