Verse for the week: “Make me understand the way of your commandments, that I may meditate on your marvelous works.” Psalm 119.27
Prayer for this week: “Almighty God, you set your Son over the works of your hands, so that even the rebellious spirits must obey him. Give power to your word that your kingdom may grow and increase and all creation be delivered into the glorious liberty of your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete für das jahr der Kirche, 2nd ed. Kassel: Barenreiter Verlag, 1948, p.86 )
Bible reading for the day: I Corinthians 8.1-13 (note: Paul has declared that our starting place in life is not ourselves nor an idol, but Jesus Christ. Now questions arose over whether Christians should eat food sacrificed to idols. This food was eaten in a temple dining room, at pagan sacrifices involving actual idol worship, purchased in the marketplace, or eaten in an unbeliever’s home. Our decision in such matters needs to be based on the message our actions will send to others. For example: if I know that a friend is an alcoholic and I am at a party or dinner with him/her, how do I show Christ’s love for them? By abstaining or indulging?)
1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for the freedom – even when it comes to the dinner table – that is our Christ…and thank you for the calling to use this freedom not brashly, but lovingly. You are the one who puts everything, even our groceries, in the right perspective. Repent me and your whole church of both extremes: unnecessary uptightness over food & drink…and arrogant, consumptive self-indulgence: pigging out. Teach us to receive our groceries with thanks, consider our fellow believers, and in so doing to bear witness to you alone as Lord. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Give us this day our daily bread…
What does this mean?
God indeed gives daily bread to all sinners, even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that he would help us to recognize this so that we would receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread?
Daily bread includes everything required to meet our earthly needs, such as food, drink, clothing, home, property, employment, necessities, devout parents, children, and communities, honest and faithful authorities, good government, seasonable weather, peace, health, an orderly society, a good reputation, true friends and neighbors, and the like. (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)
Benediction: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. II Cor 13.14
*There are many patterns for devotions. This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray. It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (
www.dailytext.com). The method is founded on scripture and easy
to remember: Alexandria, MN
R: regret (repentance)
I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God.