Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, August 15. Read Exodus 19:7-15. 1) What did God tell the people to do as they gathered around Mt. Sinai? 2) Why do you think they couldn’t touch the mountain? 3) Compare this text to our sermon text. Differences?
Tuesday, August 16. Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-11. 1) This text compares the world under Moses and the world of Christ. 2) What did the law of Moses, chiseled on stone tablets evoke? 3) In a contrast to that, how does Paul describe the world under Christ in 3:12-18?
Wednesday, August 17. Read Hebrews 1:10-14. 1) The Hebrews writer compares in this text the world of angels versus the world of Christ. 2) What would you say is the defining statement about Christ?
Thursday, August 18. Read 2 Peter 3:8-13. 1) Peter reminds his readers of the Day of the Lord that will come unexpectedly. 2) How would you compare the world of 3:8-11, with the world of 3:13?
Friday, August 19. Read Hebrews 13:12-16. 1) What kind of City does the writer describe in 13:14? 2) Describe the city that is to come.
Saturday, August 20. Read Hebrews 12:18-29. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
O God of the cross. Eternal creator who now works to redeem God’s creation and restore people to their original state. Please help us to purge from our lives all those things which cause us to take you and your purposes lightly and with due reverence. Through your Spirit, restore our passion and commitment to living under your mission. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Glorious things of thee are spoken
John Newton, 1779
Glorious things of you are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed you for his own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake your sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
you may smile at all your foes.
See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply your sons and daughters
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which, like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.
Round each habitation hov’ring,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a cov’ring,
showing that the Lord is near.
Thus deriving from their banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe they feed upon the manna
which he gives them on their way.
Savior, since of Zion’s city
I thro’ grace a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in your name.
Fading are the world’s vain pleasures,
all their boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasures
none but Zion’s children know.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Teach Us to Pray, May Your Kingdom Come,
While we see glimpses of our universe’s awe-inspiring beauty, variety, and magnificence, we also are witnesses of its brokenness.
by Phil Ware
Our world is deeply broken. We all know it is broken. The headlines, news channels, and our online notifications remind us that our world is broken. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Droughts. Famines. Mass shootings. Homelessness. Violence against children. Political chaos. Rather than looking for answers, the special of the day is vitriol, blame, and solutions somebody else pays for us.
While we see glimpses of our universe’s awe-inspiring beauty, variety, and magnificence, we also are witnesses of its brokenness. Almost without warning, the calm beauty of our world erupts and then devolves into chaos and destruction.
What God created to be “good” (Genesis 1:3, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and declared “very good” (Genesis 1:31), was undone by evil. Trending toward the chaos over which the Spirit of God hovered before creation (Genesis 1:2), the Spirit now groans over the world subject to decay, destruction, and death (Romans 8:20-22). The beauty, order, and specificity of the Creator are now all broken and subject to decay.
Humanity’s dismantling of God’s perfect creation (Genesis chapters 3-11), leaves us caught in the land of in-between. We live in the gap, the widening abyss between God’s perfect plan and our human reality. When we pray, “Your kingdom come…” we are praying for God to close the chasm, to bridge the gap, and to make his will the loving reality that dawns in our broken world.
We long for “Kingdom Come!” So, we pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
We pray for God’s kingdom to come! We plead for the reality of the beatitudes to be the values of our time and our world. Unfortunately, for now, it seems, the gap widens as the chasm deepens. By praying for “Kingdom Come!”, we must do more than beg for God to bridge the gap and bring “Kingdom Come!” to reality in our world.
We must commit to doing our part to mend our fractured and fragmented world with the grace of our King! We must help our world caught in its chaotic death spiral to catch the first glimpses of the dawn of “Kingdom Come!” We want our lost and broken world to experience the first glimmers of light of the coming new start of “Kingdom Come!”
More than praying, we also commit to displaying the values, the love, and the lifestyle of this new kingdom. We devote ourselves to being the first manifestations of “Kingdom Come!” until it does come in all of its fullness. So, we both pray and display that for which our heart yearns:
“Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NRSV).
Until the gap closes, we choose to stand in that gap to help others know a better day, a better way, God’s “Kingdom Come!” is on its way. We pledge to both praying and displaying what Jesus taught, valued, and demonstrated about living in the Father’s kingdom. We devote our lives to demonstrating what it is like when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.