Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, October 8. Read Ezekiel 33:30-33. 1) How does Ezekiel describe the people “come, sit, and hear?” 2) Who do they resemble in our own time?
Tuesday, October 8. Read Matthew 23:13-36. 1) What does Jesus have to say about the scribes and Pharisees in this text? 2) When does that happen today?
Wednesday, October 8. Read Luke 11:37-44. 1) What were the Pharisees guilty of, according to Jesus? 2) Why is that behavior so distasteful?
Thursday, October 8. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9. 1) Paul said that in the last days people would hold to form and ritual but would deny the power. 2) What does that mean? 3) When have you ever seen anything like that today?
Friday, October 8. Read James 2:14-17. 1) How would James say one cultivates an honest and consistent life of faith?
Saturday, October 9. Read Mark 7:1-23. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
God of truth and integrity. We know how tempting it is to do things because of the attention it gets us. We also know that such life leads to a bankruptcy of spirit. Please keep us attuned to your spirit and may what proceeds from our heart be full of holiness and in concert with your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
O for a heart to praise my God
by Charles Wesley, 1742
O for a heart to praise my God,
a heart from sin set free;
a heart that’s sprinkled with the blood
so freely shed for me:
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
my great Redeemer’s throne;
where only Christ is heard to speak,
where Jesus reigns alone:
A humble, lowly, contrite heart,
believing, true, and clean,
which neither life nor death can part
from him that dwells within:
A heart in every thought renewed,
and full of love divine;
perfect and right and pure and good —
a copy, Lord, of thine.
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart,
come quickly from above;
write thy new name upon my heart,
thy new best name of Love.
Devotional Article of the Week:
‘What Truly Defiles’ — Mark 7:14-15
by Phil Ware
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
— Mark 7:14-15 NLT
Our words and our actions say it all, don’t they?! So, let’s take seriously our use of language — both what we say and how we say it. Let’s also look at our lives and see what our actions say about our loyalty to God.
We need to realize that our intentions matter for good only if we follow through on them! Repentance that is only a change of heart, but not also a change of behavior, is not really repentance at all.
Bless me, LORD God Almighty, that by the power of your Spirit I can change my behavior and my values to reflect your holiness, grace, mercy, and righteousness more perfectly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
1 John 3:7-8