kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Monday, January 18, 2016

At the heart of renewal and rebuilding is...

Verse for the week: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.”           Psalm 62.5

Prayer for this week: “Lord, open our ears and hearts, that we may heed your hidden wisdom and let your word be a light to our path.  Speak to us through your living word, that we may obey your call and follow him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete für das jahr der Kirche, 2nd  ed. Kassel: Barenreiter Verlag, 1948, p.180 )

Bible reading for the day:  Nehemiah 8.1-8 (note: after the Exile ended, 539 B.C., our forebears were yet scattered and fragmented.  Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the Lord allowed the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt.  Nearly one hundred years after the Exile, the work is completed and now the people are assembled for a “fresh start.” At the heart of this renewal is the reading of God’s word. The book of the Law of Moses was written in Hebrew, the priests translated into the familiar Aramaic for the people who did not speak Hebrew.)
7.73b And when the seventh month had come, the people of Israel were in their towns.
8 1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered,“Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for rebuilding what has broken down; thank you for taking our sin and giving us a fresh start in Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone.  Each new day, repent me and your whole church of disregarding your word.  Make our own ears attentive to and hungry for your word and grant us understanding of it… that we may confess your word as truth and live it out.  I ask this in the name of the one who is your living Word, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

“Hallowed be thy name…”
What does this mean?
God's name is indeed holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy also among us.
How is this done?
God's name is hallowed when his Word is taught in its truth and purity and we, as God's children, lead holy lives in harmony with it. Grant this to us, dear Father in heaven! But whoever teaches and lives in ways other than what God's Word teaches dishonors the name of God among us. Prevent us from doing this, heavenly Father!   (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Benediction: Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21) 

 *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 (Alexandria, MN  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:
T: thanksgiving
                                                          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.  

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